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

Francesco Romani, Gloria Gaggioli

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Read more

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