Armed Non-State Actors and the Protection of Civilians

Completed in December 2015

This research project looked at the reactions to norms of more than 30 armed groups worldwide. It was guided by an advisory board of individual experts from the Berghof Foundation, Conciliation Resources, Geneva Call, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Human Security and Migration Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Watch and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

TEAM

Picture of Alice Priddy

Alice Priddy

Researcher

Alice Priddy's current main research areas concern the rights of persons with disabilities during and in the immediate aftermath of armed conflict.

Picture of Stuart Casey-Maslen

Stuart Casey-Maslen

Picture of Marina Mattirolo

Marina Mattirolo

OUTPUT

An Analysis of Armed Groups' Normative Policies Relating to the Protection of Civilians

Research led to the publication in January 2014 Academy Policy Briefing No. 1, Reactions to Norms, Armed Groups and the Protection of Civilians. In August 2013 selected individuals belonging or linked to armed groups met in the Philippines to discuss this publication’s draft.

The Policy Briefing analyzes normative policies of armed groups relating to the protection of civilians in armed conflict and other situations of violence, not their operational practice. However, it notes some instances in which the operational practice of a group appears to systematically contradict its stated policy. It is based on declarations and statements by members or representatives of armed groups and policy positions.

Dissemination

The Geneva Academy disseminated the results of the project through regional training workshops in Amman, Bangkok and Nairobi, organized by the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP). Other events to disseminate the Policy Briefing have also been held in Brussels, Geneva, London and New York.

In recognition of the prominence and importance of this work, senior staff from the Geneva Academy were regularly contacted during the year to discuss the project and give advice. For example, the Geneva Academy advised the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and Overseas Development Institute.

The success of this project helped increase awareness among armed non-state actors of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Publications

Cover of the Policy Briefing No1: Reactions to Norms Armed Groups and the Protection of Civilians

Policy Briefing N°1: Reactions to Norms Armed Groups and the Protection of Civilians

January 2014

Stuart Casey-Maslen, Marina Mattirolo, Alice Priddy

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Download >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Vover page of the In-Brief No.7 Human Rights Obligations of Armed Non-State Actors: An Exploration of the Practice of the UN Human Rights Council  News

How the UN Human Rights Council Addresses Armed Non-State Actors: Key Challenges and Way Forward

February 2017

Ten years after the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council, our new publication highlights the current challenges related to the Council’s approach to armed non-state actors and proposes recommendations to better address this phenomenon.

Read more

 Libya, Misrata, Tripoli Street. After a battle between members of the armed opposition and government forces. News

THE WAR REPORT: ARMED CONFLICTS IN 2016

April 2017

In 2016, 49 situations of armed violence amounted to armed conflicts according to international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The vast majority are non-international armed conflicts, as in preceding years, highlighting the changing nature of warfare. The analysis highlights two trends: the heavy toll of current armed conflicts on civilians often trapped in sieges and battlefields in cities and increased international interventions in conflicts.

Read more

Marines with India Battery, the artillery attachment for Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fire a 120 mm towed mortar system, called the Expeditionary Fire Support System. Military Briefing

Regulation of Weapons and their Use in Military Operations

April 2017, 17:00-19:00

This fourth Military Briefing will focus on the main principles that govern the choice of means and methods of warfare (international humanitarian law principles and principles of military strategy).

Read more

East Timor, Dili, burnt houses Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts and Other Contested Issues

27 April - June 2017

This course examines one of the main purpose of international humanitarian law (IHL), which is to mitigate human suffering caused by war. It enables a careful evaluation of the various IHL rules intended to help protect vulnerable persons, such as civilians and prisoners of war, as well as property during armed conflict.

Read more

Colombia, Mountains in the Valle del Cauca region, between Santander de Quilichao et Popayan. FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) combattants are getting ready for the fightings. Project

Rules of Engagement

Completed in January 2009

This project looked at how to enhance compliance by armed non-state actors with international norms, taking into account the views both of the actors themselves and the experiences of those engaged in dialogue with them.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflict 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.

Read more