6 July 2017
On 29 and 30 June 2017 the Geneva Academy, in collaboration with the University of Essex, held the first Conference on Current Issues in Armed Conflicts. The Conference gathered students, practitioners and diplomats. Its main objective was to offer the possibility to discuss the legal and policy issues that have arisen in the past and current year in relation to armed conflicts situations. Its content was modelled after the 2016 War Report.
Professor Marco Sassòli (University of Geneva) opened the conference with a keynote speech on the challenges related to the implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL). It was followed by a discussion led by Dr Krisztina Huszti-Orban and Jelena Aparac on the issue of consent as an element to address to qualify a situation as an international or a non-international armed conflict.
On the evening of 29 of June, a Special Panel on Libya, organized as an IHL Talk in collaboration with the Geneva Centre on Security Policy (GCSP), gathered Elham Saudi, Director of the NGO Lawyers for Justice in Libya and Jean-Paul Rouiller, an expert on terrorism. Panelists discussed the political and legal situation in the country, including the presence of numerous armed groups and different entities claiming governance functions.
The next day, Cornelius Wouters from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Professor Geoff Gilbert (University of Essex) addressed the latest developments in refugee law, notably the UNHCR guidelines on the implementation of the Refugee Convention. Professor Sabine Michalowski (University of Essex), Catalina Diaz, (Director of the Transitional Justice Unit, Colombian Ministry of Justice) and Dr Annyssa Bellal discussed in the following panel the recent peace agreement between the armed group FARC and Colombia which ended the 60 year long conflict , focussing on transitional justice with regard to private companies and armed groups.
The afternoon of the second day addressed the latest developments in international criminal law. Dr Guido Acquaviva (Deputy Register, Kosovo Special Chambers) offered to the audience an analysis of the most noteworthy case law of the main international criminal courts and tribunals, while Dr Sharon Weill (Swiss National Science Foundation) addressed the delicate and complex issue of the trial of ‘foreign fighters’ in France.
The Conference ended with a panel on the protection of civilians. David Tuck (International Committee of the Red Cross) and Eric Mongelard (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) discussed how IHL and human rights law address the increasing impact of current armed conflicts on the civilian population, in particular how the respect of the various rules on conduct of hostilities and of economic, social and cultural rights could be improved in light of the recent long sieges of cities (such as in Syria and Iraq).
The War Report article Georgia-Abkhazia: The Predominance of Irreconcilable Positions presents an overview of the Georgia-Abkhaz conflict, its humanitarian implications, as well as the main actors involved.
As in previous years, the 2018 Edition highlights that the majority of today’s armed conflicts – 51 out of 69 – are non-international, involving states and organized armed groups, a trend that has been highlighted since the first edition of the War Report back in 2012.
In the face of a rapidly changing world, this opening lecture of the academic year by Lindsey Cameron will explore some of the current challenges for IHL and transitional justice.
This short course aims to study, in depth, an emblematic example of the complexity of international humanitarian law and the challenges it raises: the classification of armed conflicts.
This short course 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.
The U.S. Army
The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers is the result of an active collaboration between members of the private security industry, the Geneva Academy, Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs and Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.