16 September 2019
Investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) by the parties to an armed conflict are not only crucial to securing respect for IHL, but also to preventing future violations and enabling redress for victims of past violations. Despite the unquestionable importance of investigations, there is a lack of detail with regard to the international law, principles and standards relevant to investigations in armed conflicts. This is further reflected in the disparate practice across States in the way investigations are carried out. These Guidelines aim to bring much needed clarity and support for the conduct of effective investigations into violations of IHL.
The Guidelines are the result of a five-year project, initiated in 2014 by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and joined in 2017 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The resulting publication is based on extensive research and is also informed by a series of expert workshops and engagement with stakeholders. The 16 Guidelines are each accompanied by a detailed commentary and provide guidance on the different aspects of investigations into violations of IHL, from the early stages of recording information and identifying the incidents that require investigation, through to the structural and procedural aspects of investigative bodies. The text presents a basis for the conduct of effective investigations, while taking into account the diverse legal and military systems that exist, as well as the legal and practical challenges that can arise.
These Guidelines are an essential tool not only for States aiming to conduct investigations of IHL violations in compliance with international law, but also for other bodies and individuals seeking a more detailed understanding of investigations in armed conflict.
The Guidelines will be launched in a series of events, notably one on 10 October in New York during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, 18 practitioners will follow the programme in Geneva and 26 online.
A new research project, carried out in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross, will explore the humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these are addressed international humanitarian law.
This panel discussion marks the Launch of our New Research Initiative, carried out jointly by our Swiss IHL Chair Robin Geiß and the ICRC.
This IHL Talk aims at shining light on the various ways of promoting respect for and implementation of international humanitarian law.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, reviews the origins of international criminal law, its relationship with the international legal order including the UN Security Council and its coexistence with national justice institutions. The scope of international crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression – is considered alongside initiatives to expand or add to these categories.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides participants with a solid understanding of the existing pluralistic system of international accountability for international crimes and of its main challenges.
Via a new lecture series on disruptive military technologies, this project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.
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’.