12 August 2019
The Geneva Conventions turn 70 today. As an academic institution, we work every day to uphold knowledge of and respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) and thus protect people affected by armed conflicts.
In the heart of international Geneva, at Villa Moynier – which was the property of Gustave Moynier, one of the founders and the first President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – we train young people, experts and practitioners, inform policy via cutting-edge legal research and policy studies, and organize events and expert meeting to discuss topical IHL issues and challenges.
While 70 years have passed, the Geneva Conventions still constitute the cornerstone of our work on IHL.
In this opinion piece, our Director, Professor Marco Sassòli, notably recalls the role of the Geneva Academy in disseminating the basic messages of the Geneva Conventions and in clarifying their meaning in contemporary circumstances. He also addresses the current lack of an implementation mechanism that would enhance respect for IHL.
Every year, we train via our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict around 60 young people and 25 practitioners in IHL and the protection afforded by the Geneva Conventions to people affected by armed conflicts.
Our research examines IHL issues that are under-explored or need clarification and thus advances the understanding and stimulates debate in the academic community and in policy-making institutions and government. Our findings regularly inform policy recommendations and support practitioners working on IHL and humanitarian action and diplomacy.
Today, the ICRC published an anniversary highlight with examples we elaborated that illustrate the impact of the Geneva Conventions since their adoption. These examples form part of the ICRC online casebook to which our LLM students and our Director, Professor Marco Sassòli, regularly contribute.
Our collaboration with the ICRC goes well beyond this online casebook and includes collaborations around our research, events, training courses for academics and Geneva-based diplomats, as well as internships for our LLM students.
We regularly convene expert meetings, seminars, conferences and events which provide a critical and scholarly forum for experts and practitioners to discuss and debate topical IHL issues and challenges.
Our experts are also regularly invited to provide advice to governments, international organizations and international courts and tribunals on key IHL topics.
Our Strategic Adviser on IHL, Dr Annyssa Bellal, has for instance been invited to brief tomorrow the UN Security Council in New York on the Geneva Conventions.
Three students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights – Yasmin Afina, Guillem Adrià Puri Plana and Noa Schreuer – will represent the Geneva Academy at the 30th Edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition.
Our new publication The Armed Conflict in Yemen: A Complicated Mosaic, written by Sari Arraf, provides an overview of the armed conflict in Yemen and key developments in 2017.
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.
Launched in 2016, this project aimed to identify whether, to what extent and under what circumstances armed non-state actors incur obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights (HR) law.
This project examined the legal requirements that the use of autonomous weapon systems would need to comply with in a number of scenarios envisaged by proponents of increasing autonomy in weapon systems.