Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Beyond the International Committee of the Red Cross, 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.

Objectives

The purpose of this research project is not to pass judgment on the above-mentioned trend but to contribute to its objective and contemporary assessment. It, therefore, aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately, and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.

Activities

This project currently examines the feasibility and adequate ways of establishing an experts’ pool on IHL, to be at the service of (universal and/or regional) treaty-body mechanisms.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

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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RESEARCHERS

Portrait of Emilie Max

Émilie Max

Researcher

Émilie Max's research focuses s on the intersection between international humanitarian law and international human rights law

OUTPUT

Framing the Issue, Identifying Lessons Learned, and Supporting States and UN Human Rights Mechanisms

While the research did not aim at providing a detailed comparative assessment of how all existing (international, regional, or domestic) mechanisms have dealt with IHL, examined or made pronouncements on IHL, it allowed framing the issue. The working paper Implementing International Humanitarian Law through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity or Utopia?:

  • Provided a useful background for discussion at the scientific colloquium of the 2019 Geneva Human Rights Week (14–15 November 2019)
  • Identified 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
  • Resulted in the organization of a (closed and virtual) workshop series on IHL for members of United Nations’ universal treaty body mechanisms and their secretariat in November 2020.

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

Portrait of Dr Annyssa Bellal News

Dr Annyssa Bellal Will Discuss IHL Monitoring and Compliance at the UNGA Ministerial Week

20 September 2021

Our Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law Dr Annyssa Bellal will discuss IHL monitoring and compliance at a High-Level Side Event during the UN General Assembly Ministerial Week.

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Road sign in Palma, Cabo Delgado, Moçambique News

Mozambique: Our RULAC Classifies Two New Non-International Armed Conflicts

30 September 2021

Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal classified the armed violence opposing Mozambique to RENAMO splinter groups and the al-Shabab as non-international armed conflicts.

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Portrait of Dr Helen Durham Event

Opening Lecture – Respect for International Humanitarian Law in the 21st Century: Utopian Dream or Pragmatic Reality?

18 October 2021, 18:00-19:30

Dr Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy at the ICRC, will address the legal, operational and political imperative of the international community continuing to work towards the application and implementation of IHL.

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UNSC Session on Yemen Event

A Tale of Two Cities: Humanitarian Affairs and Multilateralism in New York and Geneva

25 October 2021, 19:00-20:30

This IHL Talk, co-organized with the International Peace Institute (IPI), aims at contrasting approaches to, and decision-making on, humanitarian affairs in the relevant multilateral fora in New York and Geneva.

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An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

9 March - 13 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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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

8-12 November 2021

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

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.

Read more

Futuristic Robot Arm Interacting with Screen Project

Disruptive Technologies and Rights-Based Resilience

Started in July 2021

This project will facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

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Cover of the publication Publication

The UN Security Council and Common Article 1: Understanding the Role of Peacekeeping Operations in Ensuring Respect for IHL

published on October 2021

Émilie Max

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