Guidelines on Investigating Violations of IHL: Law, Policy, and Good Practice

Investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) by the parties to an armed conflict are not only crucial to securing respect for IHL, but also to preventing future violations and enabling redress for victims of past violations. Despite the unquestionable importance of investigations, there is a lack of detail with regard to the international law, principles and standards relevant to investigations in armed conflicts. This is further reflected in the disparate practice across States in the way investigations are carried out.

The Guidelines on Investigating Violations of IHL: Law, Policy, and Good Practice aim to bring much needed clarity and support for the conduct of effective investigations into violations of IHL.

The Guidelines are the result of a five-year project, initiated in 2014 by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and joined in 2017 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

AUTHORS

Picture of Noam Lubell

Noam Lubell

Former Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy and Professor of Public International Law at the University of Essex

Noam Lubell has taught, researched and published on a variety of topics related to international human rights law and the law of armed conflict, and is recognized as a leading expert in these fields.

Portrait of Jelena Pejic

Jelena Pejic

SENIOR LEGAL ADVISER, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS, LEGAL DIVISION, GENEVA

Jelena Pejic is a practitioner and scholar of international humanitarian law (IHL). Her work and publications cover a range of IHL issues and include the interface between IHL and human rights law. She is recognized as a leading authority in her fields.

Picture of Claire Simmons

Claire Simmons

Claire Simmons conducts research on investigations in situations of armed conflict under the directorship of Professor Noam Lubell, Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy.

NEWS AND EVENTS

Cover page of the Guidelines News

Guidelines on Investigating Violations of IHL: Law, Policy, and Good Practice

16 September 2019

These Guidelines aim to bring much needed clarity and support for the conduct of effective investigations into violations of international humanitarian law. They are the result of a five-year project initiated in 2014 by the Geneva Academy and joined in 2017 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Read more >

News

The UN Secretary-General Refers to our Guidelines on Investigating Violations of IHL

22 May 2020

In his latest report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Secretary-General refers to our Guidelines on Investigating Violation of IHL, co-published with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

A Private Afghan Security Company technical armed with a DShK heavy machine gun sits along the side of a road. U.S.Forces stopped this security company's convoy due to reports from locals claiming that the security company had been shooting sporadic gunfi News

The Involvement of Mercenaries and Private Military Security Companies in Armed Conflicts: What does IHL Say?

9 November 2021

Several armed conflicts classified in our RULAC online portal see the participation of mercenaries or private military security companies alongside states’ armed forces. Dr Chiara Redaelli, in charge of RULAC and an expert in IHL, answers our questions regarding what IHL says about this phenomenon.

Read more

Road sign in Palma, Cabo Delgado, Moçambique News

Mozambique: Our RULAC Classifies Two New Non-International Armed Conflicts

30 September 2021

Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal classified the armed violence opposing Mozambique to RENAMO splinter groups and the al-Shabab as non-international armed conflicts.

Read more

Cover page of the book Event

Book Launch: Rebel Courts

1 December 2021, 17:30-19:00

In this online book launch – part of our IHL Talk series – Professor René Provost will discuss with leading scholars in IHL and human rights the legal and practical challenges related to the administration of justice by armed groups.

Read more

Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

17 March - 8 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

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