4 June 2019
Mpho Somhlaba is a South African Diplomat responsible for humanitarian issues at the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations in Geneva and is currently enrolled in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict.
Prior to that, she served at the South African Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and was responsible, for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) portfolio. She has also served as a Legal Advisor at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa.
It has been my ambition to pursue a master degree and specialize in human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) whilst at the same time pursuing my diplomatic career. I chose the Executive Master in International Armed Conflict notably because it addresses human rights law and IHL and, furthermore, because it is a perfect fit for my profession. The programme is very intense and contains critical information which is relevant to my area of work.
Apart from the fact that Geneva is the hub for humanitarian affairs and is where the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) are situated and seat respectively, the Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict provides one with all the training in these two branches of international law.
Oh yes, it responds to my expectations and excels in meeting those.
The interactive nature of the programme aimed at finding solutions to global problems is the highpoint for me. I also enjoy the realistic examples and case reviews presented by professors. This includes the useful practical approaches that the professors share in resolving those cases.
Apart from Professor Sassòli and Professor Kolb’s lectures on IHL, I enjoyed the short training provided on the functioning and mechanisms of the HRC. This short training course was interactive and the speakers were experienced interlocutors who reflected a great deal on the dynamics at play within the HRC.
This programme is an important tool that strengthens my communication, writing and indeed interpersonal skills. The programme has also enhanced my ability to analyse information and provide solutions. Coming from a developing country where the unemployment rate is very high and with endemic challenges in the creation of new jobs, the skills acquired through this programme will accord me an added advantage and augment my eligibility for career progression, in a focused manner that will bring immense benefits to my employer.
We are launching an updated version of our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) portal, an online database that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). The updated version includes all conflicts that have emerged over the last five years and are still ongoing.
Our new publication Defending the Boundary analyses the constraints and requirements on the use of autonomous weapon systems (AWS), also called ‘killer robots’, under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
UN Photo/Manuel Elias
This short course provides an introduction to the regime of sanctions under international law and their effectiveness in addressing contemporary forms of conflict. It addresses the questions related to state responsibility, the pacific settlement of international disputes and the role of the International Court of Justice.
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.
Against the background of the mobilization of ‘foreign fighters’ for the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the Geneva Academy undertook various research projects to highlight and clarify a range of international law issues that arise through their participation and measures taken to stem their mobilization.
Several ad hoc fact-finding and inquiry commissions have been established to assess some of the most serious situations of human rights and humanitarian law violations across the world. With such mechanisms gaining influence, the question arises of whether a minimum formal standard of proof (or degree of certainty) exists or is required when such bodies adjudicate on such serious matters.