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.

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project 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.

While this research does 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 will:

  • Provide a useful background for discussion at the scientific colloquium of the 2019 Geneva Human Rights Week (14–-15 November 2019), and
  • Identify 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.

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

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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NEWS AND EVENTS

Emilie Max at her desk at the Geneva Academy News

Meet our Researchers: Émilie Max

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

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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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

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New Offer: Online Short Courses in International Law in Armed Conflict

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For the upcoming 2020–2021 academic year, our 16 short courses in international law in armed conflict will also be offered online – in addition to taking place in Geneva.

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UN general Assemby News

The Geneva Human Rights Platform Inputs the Final Stage of the UN Treaty Body Review 2020 Process

August 2020

The written submission includes all the proposals developed by the Geneva Human Rights Platform since the beginning of the process. They are the outcome of a multi-year process of academic research and consultations, along with multi-stakeholder consultations.

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Sisyphean Task: Promoting International Law while at the United Nations Security Council

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This online IHL Talk aims at shining light on substantial and/or procedural challenges to the effective and principled promotion of international law at the UN Security Council, including from a State’s perspective.

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International Refugee Law

30 April - May 2021

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.

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Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

11 March - April 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

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

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project 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.

Read more

Central African Republic, Ouham province, village of Ouogo. International Humanitarian Law dissemination session to members of the Peoples' Army for the Restoration of Democracy. Project

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

Started in January 2017

This project aims at compiling and analysing the practice and interpretation of selected international humanitarian law and human rights norms by armed non-state actors (ANSAs). It has a pragmatic double objective: first, to offer a comparative analysis of IHL and human rights norms from the perspective of ANSAs, and second, to inform strategies of humanitarian engagement with ANSAs, in particular the content of a possible ‘Model Code of Conduct’.

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Cover page of the guide Publication

The Right to Land and the UNDROP

published on December 2020

Christophe Golay

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