IHL Expert Pool

Started in January 2022

International humanitarian law (IHL) — the body of norms that regulate armed conflicts — does not set out effective mechanisms to ensure compliance. This structural flaw prompts more and more victims of IHL violations to turn to other fora in order to facilitate implementation of IHL and/or obtain reparation for breaches thereof.

In recent years, several mechanisms set up under international human rights law have stepped in to fill this compliance void. By way of example, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council takes into account applicable IHL obligations while carrying out its Universal Periodic Review, and the investigative mechanisms that it has established at a growing pace do report on serious IHL violations. Also, regional human rights courts are increasingly engaging with IHL in their case-law, by applying IHL provisions indirectly or by accommodating them within the framework of governing human rights instruments.

For all its potential, such an engagement by human rights bodies with IHL is often criticized for being overly politicized, failing to prevent violations, antagonizing important stakeholders, and setting unrealistic requirements that lead to an overall weakening and/or misapplication of IHL.

The Project

In 2021, the Geneva Academy created an IHL Expert Pool (IHL-EP) composed of thematically and geographically representative experts in the field of IHL. The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.

The IHL-EP provides expert advice on priority IHL themes on a solicited and non-solicited basis. Examples include bespoke technical guidance, the submission of amicus curiae briefs, preparation of language for reports by special rapporteurs, etc. Complementing this, the IHL-EP delivers training on IHL for human rights bodies and through targeted bilateral meetings.

Expected Outputs

The Expert Pool is a responsive mechanism that works to deliver technical assistance, capacity development and legal opinion for users within the human rights community of practice. While the majority of this work takes place behind the scenes and through quiet diplomacy, wherever possible outputs are re-packaged in an appropriate format for external use and distribution.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt present his annual report and reports on his missions to China and Greece at the 31st regular session of the Human Rights Council. 7 March 2016 News

New Expert Pool Will Strengthen the Capacity of Human Rights Mechanisms to Incorporate IHL into Their Work

29 September 2022

As part of this new IHL-EP, the Geneva Academy requested to intervene as a third party in the proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the case of Ukraine v. Russia (X).

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RESEARCHERS

Portrait of Dr Erica Harper

Erica Harper

Head of Research and Policy Studies

Erica Harper is a practitioner-academic specializing in international criminal law, human rights law and post-conflict governance.

Portrait of Francesco Romani

Francesco Romani

Research Fellow

His research interests include international humanitarian law, international cultural heritage law, human rights law, international responsibility and litigation, and the theory of sovereignty.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Online reception of the executive master News

35 Professionals Start their Online Learning Journey in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict

4 October 2022

The 35 professionals enrolled in our online Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict have just started their programme with two courses: an introductory course on international law and the international legal order and a course on international humanitarian law.

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Map of the RULAC online portal News

Renewed Fighting Prompts the Reclassification of a Non-International Armed Conflict in Southern Thailand

22 August 2022

Renewed fighting – despite ongoing peace talks – prompted the reclassification of the armed violence between Thailand and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Coordinate (BRN) on our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict online portal.

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Event

Towards Greater Accountability with Open-Source Information

14 December 2022, 18:30-20:00

This IHL Talk will explore the practices, opportunities and challenges stemming from the use of open-source information to document, investigate and prosecute international crimes and serious human rights violations.

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Syria,  Aleppo, great Umayyad mosque. Destructions. Short Course

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

10 February - 14 March 2023

This online short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.

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

The Implementation of International Human Rights Law

15 December - 17 January 2023

This online short course aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.

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Un plate with Rapporteur Spécial written on it Project

Support to UN Special Procedures

Started in June 2020

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A session of the UN Human Rights Council Project

IHL Expert Pool

Started in January 2022

The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.

Read more

Cover page of the study Publication

From Words to Deeds A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms: Research and Policy Conclusions

published on September 2022

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

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