IHL Expert Pool

Started in January 2022

International humanitarian law (IHL) — the body of norms that regulate armed conflicts — does not set out effective mechanisms to ensure compliance. 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.

In recent years, several mechanisms set up under international human rights law have stepped in to fill this compliance void. By way of example, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council takes into account applicable IHL obligations while carrying out its Universal Periodic Review, and the investigative mechanisms that it has established at a growing pace do report on serious IHL violations. Also, regional human rights courts are increasingly engaging with IHL in their case-law, by applying IHL provisions indirectly or by accommodating them within the framework of governing human rights instruments.

For all its potential, such an engagement by human rights bodies with IHL is often criticized for being overly politicized, failing to prevent violations, antagonizing important stakeholders, and setting unrealistic requirements that lead to an overall weakening and/or misapplication of IHL.

The Project

In 2021, the Geneva Academy created an IHL Expert Pool (IHL-EP) composed of thematically and geographically representative experts in the field of IHL. The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.

The IHL-EP provides expert advice on priority IHL themes on a solicited and non-solicited basis. Examples include bespoke technical guidance, the submission of amicus curiae briefs, preparation of language for reports by special rapporteurs, etc. Complementing this, the IHL-EP delivers training on IHL for human rights bodies and through targeted bilateral meetings.

Expected Outputs

The Expert Pool is a responsive mechanism that works to deliver technical assistance, capacity development and legal opinion for users within the human rights community of practice. While the majority of this work takes place behind the scenes and through quiet diplomacy, wherever possible outputs are re-packaged in an appropriate format for external use and distribution.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Aerial view of destroyed buildings News

Experts Discuss the Use of Open-Source Information to Document IHL and Human Rights Violations

10 January 2023

A one-day consultation aimed at discussing with a variety of experts the challenges, opportunities and best practices arising from an increased reliance on open source information in accountability processes.

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Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt present his annual report and reports on his missions to China and Greece at the 31st regular session of the Human Rights Council. 7 March 2016 News

New Expert Pool Will Strengthen the Capacity of Human Rights Mechanisms to Incorporate IHL into Their Work

29 September 2022

As part of this new IHL-EP, the Geneva Academy requested to intervene as a third party in the proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the case of Ukraine v. Russia (X).

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RESEARCHERS

Portrait of Dr Erica Harper

Erica Harper

Head of Research and Policy Studies

Erica Harper is a practitioner-academic specializing in international criminal law, human rights law and post-conflict governance.

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.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

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35 Professionals Start their Online Learning Journey in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict

4 October 2022

The 35 professionals enrolled in our online Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict have just started their programme with two courses: an introductory course on international law and the international legal order and a course on international humanitarian law.

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Dr Erica Harper in front of Villa Moynier News

Erica Harper Joins the Geneva Academy as Head of Research and Policy Studies

29 August 2022

The Geneva Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Erica Harper as its new Head of Research and Policy Studies. Dr Harper succeeds Felix Kirchmeier who remains the Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

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CSW63 Side Event - “Take the Hot Seat” Intergenerational Dialogue Event

Child Participation in the Work of UN Human Rights Mechanisms

6 February 2023, 13:15-14:45

This Human Rights Conversation will discuss child participation in the work of UN human rights mechanisms and opportunities to move away from today’s reliance on individual organizations or UN representatives’ initiatives.

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Book Launch: Cultural Heritage and Mass Atrocities

1 March 2023, 18:15-20:00

At this book launch, one of the book’s editors will discuss cultural heritage and mass atrocities with contributors to the book and specialists.

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Syria,  Aleppo, great Umayyad mosque. Destructions. Short Course

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

10 February - 14 March 2023

This online short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.

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International Refugee Law

1 March - 18 April 2023

This online short course 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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Treaty Body Review 2020 and Beyond

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The Geneva Human Rights Platform contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.

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The Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Started in June 2019

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Assessment Tool for Special Procedures' Impact Evaluation – Developing an Initial Framework

published on January 2023

Jonathan Andrew

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Cover of the publication Publication

Right to a Healthy Environment

published on December 2022

Megan Donald

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