Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Beyond the International Committee of the Red Cross, 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.

Objectives

The purpose of this research project is not to pass judgment on the above-mentioned trend but to contribute to its objective and contemporary assessment. It, therefore, aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately, and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.

Activities

This project currently examines the feasibility and adequate ways of establishing an experts’ pool on IHL, to be at the service of (universal and/or regional) treaty-body mechanisms.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

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.

Read more >

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.

Read more >

RESEARCHERS

Portrait of Emilie Max

Émilie Max

Researcher

Émilie Max's research focuses s on the intersection between international humanitarian law and international human rights law

OUTPUT

Framing the Issue, Identifying Lessons Learned, and Supporting States and UN Human Rights Mechanisms

While the research did not aim at providing a detailed comparative assessment of how all existing (international, regional, or domestic) mechanisms have dealt with IHL, examined or made pronouncements on IHL, it allowed framing the issue. The working paper Implementing International Humanitarian Law through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity or Utopia?:

  • Provided a useful background for discussion at the scientific colloquium of the 2019 Geneva Human Rights Week (14–15 November 2019)
  • Identified 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
  • Resulted in the organization of a (closed and virtual) workshop series on IHL for members of United Nations’ universal treaty body mechanisms and their secretariat in November 2020.

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

Download >

Past Events

The role of human rights mechanisms in implementing international humanitarian law

13-14 November 2019

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Alessandra Spadaro during the defence of her PhD thesis News

Our Former Teaching Assistant Alessandra Spadaro Successfully Defended her PhD Thesis

7 June 2021

While most of the existing scholarship focuses only on security detention or internment by armed groups in non-international armed conflicts, her thesis also studies the detentions of armed group members by their own group and criminal detentions for crimes related to the conflict as well as common crimes.

Read more

Images of disappeared, Cali, Colombia News

New Paper Discusses Migrants’ Enforced Disappearances and the Contribution of UN Human Rights Mechanisms

19 May 2021

Our new working paper analyses the contribution of international human rights mechanisms in preventing and addressing enforced disappearances in the context of international migration.

Read more

Colorful hands paining Event

2021 Human Rights Week Scientific Colloquium: Discrimination and Inequalities

25-26 November 2021

The two-day Scientific Colloquium of the 2021 Human Rights Week will explore the different facets of discrimination and inequalities and will discuss their human rights impact in our contemporary world.

Read more

Prison visit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Haiti Short Course

The Implementation of International Human Rights Law

16 December - 14 January 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.

Read more

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

9 March - 13 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, 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.

Read more

Sign: National Human Rights Commission of Nepal Project

Local Implementation of Global Human Rights

Started in May 2020

The Geneva Human Rights Platform collaborates with a series of actors to reflect on the implementation of international human rights norms at the local level and propose solutions to improve uptake of recommendations and decisions taken by Geneva-based human rights bodies at the local level.

Read more

Screen Shot of Obsolete, a game made for the 7DFPS project in 7 days. Download for PC and Mac Project

Disruptive Military Technologies

Started in February 2020

Via a new lecture series on disruptive military technologies, this project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

The UN Security Council and Common Article 1: Understanding the Role of Peacekeeping Operations in Ensuring Respect for IHL

published on October 2021

Émilie Max

Read more