Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Completed in December 2021

Beyond the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), international humanitarian law (IHL) lacks mechanisms to effectively ensure its own compliance. Such structural flaw of its system prompted a general recourse to the better-equipped human rights machinery, even if the opportuneness of this tendency has long been – and remains – debated in both intergovernmental and scholarly forums.

If some human rights mechanisms provide unique opportunities for victims affected by armed conflict (such as individual complaints before universal and regional treaty bodies), others remain criticized for being inherently political, too slow to deal with violations, or disconnected from the realities of conflict, thus antagonizing important military stakeholders.

This research project – carried out by Emilie Max – examined how IHL could be more systematically, appropriately, and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the UN Charter, as well as from universal and regional treaties.

NEWS

Emilie Max at her desk at the Geneva Academy News

Meet our Researchers: Émilie Max

20 January 2020

Émilie Max is one of our researchers. She tells us about her background, the research projects she works on and why she decided to work in this field.

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A session of the UN Human Rights Committtee at Palais Wilson News

New Paper Discusses IHL Implementation through Human Rights Mechanisms

31 October 2019

After a reminder on mechanisms established by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional Protocols of 1977, the paper summarily frames the relationship between IHL and international human rights law and assess the competence and practice of political mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well as of universal and regional treaty-based mechanisms.

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OUTPUT

Towards an IHL Expert Pool

The research piloted the creation of an IHL expert pool at the service of universal and/or regional treaty-based human rights mechanisms to be hosted at the Geneva Academy. Experts participating in this pool would share their knowledge and experiences in order to provide advice/guidance notably to UN treaty bodies  – notably through amicus curiae, public positions and comments of drafts – depending on the avenues foreseen in the relevant human rights treaties.

Framing the Issue and Identifying Lessons Learned

The Working Paper Implementing International Humanitarian Law through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity or Utopia? identifies lessons learned from the practice of human rights mechanisms in order to assist stakeholders – especially States – in potentially adopting a coherent and systematized positioning vis-à-vis the implementation of IHL by such mechanisms

Publications

Cover of the publication

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity Or Utopia?

October 2019

Émilie Max

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

The role of human rights mechanisms in implementing international humanitarian law

13-14 November 2019

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

A session of the UN Human Rights Committee News

New Publication Takes Stock of UN Treaty Body Review 2020 Implementation

27 May 2022

Our new Research Brief provides a comprehensive summary of the key decisions taken and recommendations given by all relevant stakeholders in implementing the recommendations of the TB Review 2020 process.

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Peasant in in Yangambi, DRC. News

The Geneva Academy Participates in a Major Project on Implementing the Rights of Peasants

8 March 2022

The project aims at implementing the rights of peasants in 10 countries of the Global South: Philippines, India Nepal, Kenya, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Bolivia and Mexico.

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Syria, destroyed building and ambulance Short Course

Basic Principles of International Humanitarian Law

Fall 2022

This short course examines the sources of international humanitarian law and provides an introduction to its key principles and terminology.

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Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

Spring 2023

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, 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.

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Flyer presenting the Geneva Human Rights Platform with other publications of the Geneva Academy on display Project

GHRP Fridays

Started in January 2019

The GHRP Fridays provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change.

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Computer screen with warning: civilian infrastucture: do not attack Project

Digitalization of Conflict Joint Initiative: Humanitarian Impact and Legal Protection

Started in September 2020

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.

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Cover of the publication Publication

Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – Where do we stand

published on May 2022

Felix Kirchmeier, Chloé Naret, Domenico Zipoli

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