IHL Expert Pool

Started in January 2022

Context

International humanitarian law (IHL) — the body of norms that regulate armed conflicts — does not set out effective monitoring, investigation and compliance mechanisms. This structural flaw prompts more and more victims of IHL violations to turn to other fora in order to facilitate implementation of IHL and/or obtain reparation for breaches thereof.

Such fora include United Nations human rights treaty bodies, human rights investigative mechanisms and regional human rights courts. Insofar as IHL and human rights are distinct academic and policy domains, this creates scope for the misapplication of IHL.

Objectives

In response, this project seeks to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to take IHL into account in a comprehensive and efficacious manner when confronted with armed conflict situations.

Drawing on in-house staff and a pool of thematic experts, the project delivers support in two ways. First, it runs bespoke training sessions, including for judges and human rights practitioners. Second, it provides technical advice and assistance on how IHL is relevant to, applies or may have implications in specific cases (amicus curiae briefs, legal submissions and analysis of findings).

This work focuses on key thematic areas identified as posing some of the most serious and frequent threats and thus most likely to be addressed by human rights mechanisms: the right to food in armed conflict, protection of cultural property, environmental violations or the dangers to civilians posed by new military technologies

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

The European Court of Human Rights Building in Strasbourg, France News

Our Third-Party Intervention in Ukraine and the Netherland v. Russia

30 May 2023

The Geneva Academy has been granted leave by the Court to intervene as a third party in this case – along with 26 governments – and submitted its third-party intervention on 28 April 2023.

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Destroyed buildings in Yemen News

From the European Court of Human Rights to UN Human Rights Mechanisms: A Productive Start for the IHL Expert Pool

27 April 2023

Our new IHL Expert Pool began to position itself as a flexible tool that human rights mechanisms can rely on to increase their international humanitarian law (IHL) knowledge and to apply IHL in their work.

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View of the European Court of Human Rights News

The Geneva Academy Will Intervene as a Third Party in the Case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

27 March 2023

The Geneva Academy has been granted leave by the European Court of Human Rights to intervene as a third-party – along with 26 governments – in the Inter-State case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

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RESEARCHERS

Portrait of Francesco Romani

Francesco Romani

Research Fellow

His research interests include international humanitarian law, international cultural heritage law, human rights law, international responsibility and litigation, and the theory of sovereignty.

OUTPUT

The IHL-EP in 2022

During the year, the IHL-EP provided advice to six human rights bodies at both regional and international levels on critical IHL issues. In relation to the armed conflict in Ukraine, the Geneva Academy submitted, along with 23 governments, a request for third-party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ukraine v Russia (X) on several crucial issues raised by that case. These include the extra-territorial application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the attribution of conduct and its interaction with the questions of establishing jurisdiction and classifying armed conflicts, the relationship between the ECHR and the international legal prohibition of the threat or use of force and the interplay between the ECHR and IHL.

The IHL-EP also provided advice to several special procedures of the UN Human Rights Council. These include, notably, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food for his report on conflict and the right to food; the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries on mercenary-related activities from the standpoint of IHL; and the UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights for the first independent global study on the impact of counter-terrorism measures on civil society and civic space, with a contribution focusing on the lack of transparent, empirical decision-making and the over-extension and misuse of IHL in counter-terrorism operations.

In response to the increased reliance on open-source information to prosecute and investigate international crimes, the IHL-EP also convened an interdisciplinary experts’ meeting to facilitate intersectoral information sharing and debate on that topic. It also provided advice on this issue to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture.

Publications

Cover page of the third-party intervention

Third-Party Intervention: Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

April 2023

Gloria Gaggioli, Francesco Romani

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

A general view of participants during the 54nd session of the Human Rights Council News

New Paper Unlocks the Potential of the UN Human Rights Council in Global Conflict Prevention

3 November 2023

Our new policy brief Delivering the Right to Peace: Towards a Reinforced Role of the Human Rights Council in the UN's Peace and Security Framework delves into the possibilities of enhancing the Human Rights Council's involvement in the UN's peace and security functions.

Read more

Yemen,  Taiz, Salah district. A destroyed building. News

Mastering International Law in Armed Conflict: Explore our Online Short Courses

8 September 2023

For the 2023–2024 academic year, we offer 16 online short courses covering legal issues and topics relevant to armed conflicts.

Read more

Mali, Ménaka Region, Tassassat village. In this village, the ICRC has installed a watering place to support the villagers who are affected by the combined effects of conflict and climate change. Event

The Weaponizing of Water in Contemporary Armed Conflicts

27 February 2024, 12:15-14:00

This IHL Talk, organized with the Geneva Water Hub, will discuss the weaponization of water in contemporary armed conflicts and the importance of IHL and human rights law in preventing and mitigating the consequences on civilians.

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Open dump Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

2-20 September 2024

Participants in this training course, made of two modules, will examine the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights and the environment, familiarizing themselves with the respective implementation and enforcement mechanisms.

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A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

11-15 November 2024

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

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

The Digitalization of Armed Conflict

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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Iraq, Mosul. View of the west bank after the war. Project

IHL in Focus

Started in January 2024

As a yearly publication, it keeps decision-makers, practitioners and scholars up-to-date with the latest trends and challenges in IHL implementation in over 100 armed conflicts worldwide – both international and non-international.

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Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Environmental Human Rights as a Tool in Early Warning and Conflict Prevention The Role of the Human Rights Council

published on January 2024

Erica Harper, Baïna Ubushieva

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