LLM Students Develop Knowledge and Critical Thinking on Current IHL and Human Rights Topics

Students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (2019-2020 academic year) dedicated their summer to the writing of their LLM papers – a key output of the programme.

In around 20 pages – and under the supervision of a Faculty member – they had the opportunity to investigate a subject of special interest to them and deepen their knowledge and expertise through research as well as exchanges with experts, scholars and practitioners.

‘The LLM paper is an opportunity for our students to apply what they have learned during the year to specific cases or situations, reflecting on the protection existing legal frameworks afford, their potential gaps and how the latter can be filled, says Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.

‘The fact that the paper is quite short requires a very good command of the law as well as the ability to analyse complex legal issues and situations in a precise and concise manner’ she adds.

Additional Challenge Related to the COVID–19 Pandemic

Due to the COVID–19 pandemic, students could not meet their supervisors in person to discuss key questions related to their papers, which added a layer of complexity to this exercise.

‘We are very proud of our students who managed, despite this difficult situation, to submit quality papers in time’ explains Professor Gloria Gaggioli.

LLM students submitted their papers in August and are receiving their grades.

From Armed Groups to the Protection of the Environment in Armed Conflicts or the Responsibility of Businesses in Conflict Areas

A series of LLM papers addressed the obligations of armed groups under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) notably in relation to enforced disappearances, cyber-operations, terrorism, foreign interventions or the protection of the environment.

Others discussed legal questions related to sexual violence in armed conflict – addressing the implication of United Nations (UN) forces or war crimes –, as well as whether domestic violence constitutes torture notably in light of the jurisprudence of UN human rights mechanisms.

Several papers also delved into specific legal issues related to armed conflicts, including the responsibilities of businesses under IHL and IHRL or the right to life of States’ own military personnel and the role of IHRL in interpreting IHL norms.

Papers also covered international criminal law (ICL) and international criminal justice questions like the notion of interest of justice in the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the efficiency of international criminal justice regarding the implementation of ICL in ICC non-member states.

Masul, Iraq: a wall with bullet impacts. Mosul’s old town experienced intense shelling, aerial bombing and attacks with improvised explosive devices (IED) during the conflict to retake the city from the Islamic State group in 2016/17.

Awards

Awarded every year during the Graduation Ceremony, the Best LLM Paper Prize distinguish one student for a paper of exceptional academic quality.

The Henry Dunant Prize is awarded to an LLM graduating student for an original and didactical paper that deepens, strengthens and renews the ideals and commitment of Henry Dunant.

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