Jelena Pejic is a Senior Legal Adviser in the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva.
She is a practitioner and scholar of international humanitarian law (IHL). Her work covers a range of IHL issues and includes the interface of IHL and human rights law. She is acknowledged to be a leading authority in her fields and has written and presented extensively on various issues of IHL, human rights and criminal law.
Jelena joined the ICRC as Legal Adviser on IHL and human rights. Between 2002 and 2008 she was Head of the ICRC’s Project on the Reaffirmation and Development of IHL, which aimed to provide the organization’s response to the legal and policy issues generated by the ‘war on terrorism’.
She was responsible for developing the ICRC’s legal and policy guidelines on procedural safeguards for detention in armed conflict and for initiating the organization’s work on the notion of direct participation in hostilities. She also introduced the ICRC’s quadrennial public report on ‘IHL and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts’, which showcases the organization’s views on a variety of IHL topics.
Jelena’s work focuses on the law, policy and practice of detention and on the extraterritorial use of force. Together with colleagues from the Swiss government she is also currently in charge of an inter-governmental process on Strengthening Respect for IHL, which started in 2011.
Prior to joining the ICRC, Jelena was a Senior Program Coordinator at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York (now Human Rights First), responsible for the Committee’s work on issues of international criminal justice, including the establishment of an International Criminal Court (ICC). She led the organization’s delegation at the 1998 Rome conference on the establishment of the ICC.
Jelena holds an LLM degree from Columbia University Law School in New York, and a law degree from Belgrade University Law School, where she was a lecturer in Public International Law and International Relations.
This project, initiated in 2014 by the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law, Professor Noam Lubell, intends to identify, via expert meetings and research, a set of best practices that states should apply when they investigate or examine alleged violations or misconduct in situations of armed conflict.