18 December 2018
Nigeria is involved since July 2009 in a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) against Boko Haram, a non-state armed group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal provides a detailed analysis and legal classification of this NIAC, as well as information about parties to this conflict and recent developments.
‘We use two criteria to assess whether a situation of armed violence amounts to a NIAC under international humanitarian law: the level of armed violence must reach a certain degree of intensity that goes beyond internal disturbances and tensions, and at least one side to the conflict must be a non-state armed group that exhibits a certain level of organization’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. ‘In the case of Nigeria, we considered that both criteria are met’ she adds.
Since January 2015, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has been supporting the Nigerian Government in the fight against Boko Haram. The MNJTF is composed of units from countries of the Lake Chad Basin, notably Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. It operates under an African Union Peace and Security Council mandate and is supported by the United Nations Security Council.
‘As the MNJTF has intervened in Nigeria with the consent of the Nigerian Government, its involvement does not affect the classification of the conflict as a NIAC’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli.
‘Similarly, the splitting of Boko Haram into various factions did not affect our classification of the conflict as a single NIAC’ stresses Dr Chiara Readelli.
‘While there is no sufficiently clear and reliable information on Boko Haram’s factions to conclude that it can still be considered as one armed group, arguably the conflict remains a single NIAC due to the absence of fighting between Boko Haram’s factions and their common perceived adversary’ she adds.
The RULAC database is unique in the world in that it legally classifies situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict – international or non-international – under international humanitarian law (IHL).
‘This is crucial because IHL applies only in armed conflicts. Before humanitarian players, civil servants or academics can invoke IHL or analyze whether IHL was violated, they must know whether it applies. Outside armed conflicts, only international human rights law applies’ underlines Marco Sassòli, Director of the Geneva Academy.
RULAC is supported by a law clinic at the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. In accordance with the RULAC methodology, a team of Essex postgraduate students drafted the conflict entry on the NIAC in Nigeria, which was then revised and complemented by the Geneva Academy.
The Geneva Academy and the University of Essex’s School of Law and Human Rights Centre hosted the Current Issues in Armed Conflict Conference representing a further example of the burgeoning relationship between the two institutions.
Two alumni of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Dražan Djukić and Niccolò Pons, are the editors of an important volume on international humanitarian law that has just been published by Brill Publishers.
La trilogie ‘Des Procès peu Ordinaires’ continue avec la projection du film Le Tribunal sur le Congo de Milo Rau.
This discussion follows the publication of the Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2019 by TRIAL International which focuses on the challenges of investigating and prosecuting mass crimes remotely.
Organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Geneva Academy, this advanced seminar aims to enhance the capacity of lecturers and researchers to teach and research international humanitarian law contemporary issues, addressing both substantive and pedagogical aspects.
This course examines the mechanisms and institutions available in international law to hold individuals legally accountable for acts amounting to international crimes, focusing on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the role of national jurisdictions.
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’.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.