International Humanitarian Law and the United Nations Security Council

Started in January 2020

The past few years have seen an increase in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s focus on international humanitarian law (IHL), a trend that started before and goes beyond the 2019 commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. In 2019, the UNSC notably adopted resolutions on missing persons in armed conflict, as well as on the situation of persons with disabilities in armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies (resolutions 2474 and 2475, respectively).

However, contrary to other thematic issues such as the rule of law or individual criminal accountability, little attention has been paid to the consistency – or lack thereof – of the UNSC’s practice in relation to this legal framework. The prevailing discourse on the UNSC's dynamics also often focuses on the organ’s five permanent members to the exclusion of the so-called ‘E10’.

Objectives

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with over 30 experts (scholars, diplomats, as well as representatives of the United Nations, NGOs and relevant international organizations), this project aims at critically assessing how the UNSC has recently dealt with IHL. Drawing from this organ’s practice as well as from identifiable legal and/or political dynamics, it will notably – to the extent possible – formulate recommendations to policy-makers working with this organ to ensure consistency in addressing IHL issues. The project will also particularly focus on the potential roles of the UNSC’s elected members (the above-mentioned ‘E10’).

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 page of the Briefing

Room for Manoeuvre? Promoting International Humanitarian Law and Accountability While at the United Nations Security Council: A Reflection on the Role of Elected Members

October 2020

Émilie Max

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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NEWS AND EVENTS

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on peace and security in Africa, with a focus on countering terrorism and extremism in Africa. IHL Talks

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

January 2021, 15:00-16:30

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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A view of the UN Security Council News

New Briefing Examines the Promotion of IHL at the UN Security Council

November 2020

Our new Briefing assesses the UN Security Council’s recent engagement with international humanitarian law and accountability.

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A man enters the room of the UN Security Council News

New Research Project Focuses on How the United Nations Security Council deals with IHL

April 2020

This research will analyse how the UN Security Council has recently dealt with international humanitarian law (IHL) and formulate a series of recommendations to policy-makers working with this organ to ensure consistency in addressing IHL issues.

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

 Yemen, Saada. A group of children play football against a backdrop of destroyed houses. News

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

September 2020

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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An Australian service light armored vehicle drives through Tangi Valley, Afghanistan News

Non-International Armed Conflicts in Afghanistan and the Peace Talks with the Taliban

November 2020

Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis of these conflicts. It has been updated to include recent developments, including the current peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

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A wide view of the Security Council meeting on peace and security in Africa, with a focus on countering terrorism and extremism in Africa. Event

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

January 2021, 15:00-16:30

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.

Read more

Syria, destroyed building and ambulance Short Course

Basic Principles of International Humanitarian Law

Fall 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL). It provides an introduction to the key principles and terminology of IHL.

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The UN Security Council Short Course

Introduction to Public International Law and Subjects of the International Legal Order

Fall 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, focuses on the role of public international law in international relations and on international legal persons.

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Computer screen with warning: civilian infrastucture: do not attack Project

Digitalization of Conflict Joint Initiative: Humanitarian Impact and Legal Protection

Started in September 2020

This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.

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A wheelchair completely destroyed after the bombing of a civilian area Project

Disability and Armed Conflict

Started in May 2016

This project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance for persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.

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Cover page of the Briefing Publication

Room for Manoeuvre? Promoting International Humanitarian Law and Accountability While at the United Nations Security Council: A Reflection on the Role of Elected Members

published on October 2020

Émilie Max

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