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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New War Report Article Discusses the Ongoing Armed Violence in Sinai between Egypt and Wilayat Sinai

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Our new War Report article Non-International Armed Conflict To Continue in Sinai? discusses the non-international armed conflict between Egypt and Wilayat Sinai, an armed non-state actor that has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group.

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Is it Time for Universal Recognition of the Right to a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment?

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To kick-start discussions at the UN about the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, this expert seminar will consider the growing recognition of this right and will answer the question: is it time for universal recognition at UN-level?

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Confronting the Truth: The Functions, Practices and Challenges of Truth Commissions

31 March - April 2020

Truth Commissions are by now an integral part of the transitional justice vocabulary and practice. This short course will provide a comprehensive, multidimensional and practical examination of this transitional justice mechanism, shedding light on both its aims and the practical challenges it has met or is likely to meet.

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Treaty Body Members’ Platform

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The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

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The Rights of Peasants

Started in May 2008

After having provided academic support to the negotiation of the UN Declaration for ten years, this research project focuses on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

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Cover of the publication Publication

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

published on December 2019

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

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