Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Completed in December 2021

Beyond the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), international humanitarian law (IHL) lacks mechanisms to effectively ensure its own compliance. Such structural flaw of its system prompted a general recourse to the better-equipped human rights machinery, even if the opportuneness of this tendency has long been – and remains – debated in both intergovernmental and scholarly forums.

If some human rights mechanisms provide unique opportunities for victims affected by armed conflict (such as individual complaints before universal and regional treaty bodies), others remain criticized for being inherently political, too slow to deal with violations, or disconnected from the realities of conflict, thus antagonizing important military stakeholders.

This research project – carried out by Emilie Max – examined how IHL could be more systematically, appropriately, and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the UN Charter, as well as from universal and regional treaties.

NEWS

Emilie Max at her desk at the Geneva Academy News

Meet our Researchers: Émilie Max

20 January 2020

Émilie Max is one of our researchers. She tells us about her background, the research projects she works on and why she decided to work in this field.

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A session of the UN Human Rights Committtee at Palais Wilson News

New Paper Discusses IHL Implementation through Human Rights Mechanisms

31 October 2019

After a reminder on mechanisms established by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional Protocols of 1977, the paper summarily frames the relationship between IHL and international human rights law and assess the competence and practice of political mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well as of universal and regional treaty-based mechanisms.

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OUTPUT

Towards an IHL Expert Pool

The research piloted the creation of an IHL expert pool at the service of universal and/or regional treaty-based human rights mechanisms to be hosted at the Geneva Academy. Experts participating in this pool would share their knowledge and experiences in order to provide advice/guidance notably to UN treaty bodies  – notably through amicus curiae, public positions and comments of drafts – depending on the avenues foreseen in the relevant human rights treaties.

Framing the Issue and Identifying Lessons Learned

The Working Paper Implementing International Humanitarian Law through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity or Utopia? identifies lessons learned from the practice of human rights mechanisms in order to assist stakeholders – especially States – in potentially adopting a coherent and systematized positioning vis-à-vis the implementation of IHL by such mechanisms

Publications

Cover of the publication

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity Or Utopia?

October 2019

Émilie Max

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

The role of human rights mechanisms in implementing international humanitarian law

13-14 November 2019

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Anastasiya Marchuk News

Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict: What Participants Say

10 May 2022

Anastasiya Marchuk is the Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Office in Odesa, Ukraine. She is currently enrolled in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict and follows the programme online.

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Professor Marco Sassoli during an IHL class at the Geneva Academy News

Geneva Academy Professor presents to OSCE Member States Report on Violations of IHL in the Armed Conflict in Ukraine

13 April 2022

Professor Sassòli was in charge of the IHL part of the report that was presented on 13 April by the three experts to the OSCE Permanent Council. 

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Event

2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

18 October 2022, 09:00-19:00

The 2022 Annual Conference will focus on digital connectivity in the field of human rights. This includes a view of the digital connections by and among mechanisms within the human rights system, but also the substantive impacts of digitalization.

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Ukrainian children are fleeing the armed conflict in Ukraine, Przemyśl, Poland Event

Children in International Migration: Celebrating 5 Years of Joint Action by Two UN Treaty Bodies

28 September 2022

This event of our Geneva Human Rights Platform will discuss the protection of children in international migration on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the adoption of two General Comments by UN treaty bodies.

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An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

1 March - 18 April 2023

This online short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

14-18 November 2022

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

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View of a session of the UN Human Rights Council Project

Human Rights Conversations

Started in January 2020

A series of events aimed at discussing contemporary issues and challenges related to the promotion and protection of human rights in Geneva and beyond.

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First annual conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform Project

The Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Started in June 2019

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Cover of the publication Publication

Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – Where do we stand

published on May 2022

Felix Kirchmeier, Chloé Naret, Domenico Zipoli

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