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At the request of the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global – also known as the Oil Fund and the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund – the Geneva Academy provided background information – in the form of a report – on current armed conflicts and international humanitarian law (IHL).
The author of the report, our Research Fellow Dr Chiara Redaelli, presented the report’s main findings to the Council of Ethics on 28 April and briefed its members on current armed conflicts and IHL.
The Council members were very happy with the report and pleased by the very clear and structured presentation at the Council meeting.
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The Fund’s ethical guidelines regulate its investment policy. Updated in September 2021, these guidelines notably underline that companies that are selling arms to states who then use them in violations of IHL should be removed from the Fund’s portfolio.
On this basis, the Council on Ethics must identify states engaged in armed conflicts that use weapons in ways that constitute serious and systematic violations of the international rules on the conduct of hostilities, as well as companies in the Fund's portfolio that sell weapons to these states.
‘Our report aims at providing the Council with factual and clear information in order to make informed decisions about its portfolio and investments’ It is important to have an open and honest discussion on these crucial issues, and it has been a pleasure to see the interest and commitment shown by the members of the Council’ explains Dr Redaelli.
The report – which remains confidential – starts by identifying the current situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under IHL. It then identifies the states that are party to one or several armed conflicts and, among these, those that use weapons in ways that constitute serious IHL violations as defined in Article 7(1)(b)(i) of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), namely those committing possible war crimes.
The report draws on our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal to identify the current situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under IHL and states that are parties to these conflicts.
This unique online resource – and the sole independent and public classification of armed conflicts – currently monitors more than 110 armed conflicts involving at least 55 states and more than 70 armed non-state actors.
For each conflict, RULAC details the factual and methodological basis for its classification and identifies the parties and the applicable international law. The portal also includes sections on the definition and categories of armed conflict under IHL and the legal framework governing armed conflicts.
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Our new Working Paper Societal Risks and Potential Humanitarian Impact of Cyber Operations provides an up-to-date assessment of existing risks and protection needs in light of contemporary and future military cyber capabilities.
Applications for the upcoming academic year of our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict are open. They will run until 30 June 2022 – meaning that interested candidates have two months to apply – with courses starting at the end of September 2022.
This short course examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict, also known as the Law of The Hague.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will cover the ‘nuts and bolts’ of implementation, including national legislation, dissemination and training, and discuss the mechanisms such as the International Fact-Finding Commission, as set out in the treaties.
This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts 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.