Armed Non-State Actors and the Protection of Civilians

Completed in December 2015

This research project looked at the reactions to norms of more than 30 armed groups worldwide. It was guided by an advisory board of individual experts from the Berghof Foundation, Conciliation Resources, Geneva Call, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Human Security and Migration Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Human Rights Watch and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Research Team

This research project was carried out by Stuart Casey-Maslen, Marina Mattirolo and Alice Priddy.

OUTPUT

An Analysis of Armed Groups' Normative Policies Relating to the Protection of Civilians

Research led to the publication in January 2014 of Academy Policy Briefing No. 1, Reactions to Norms, Armed Groups and the Protection of Civilians. In August 2013 selected individuals belonging or linked to armed groups met in the Philippines to discuss this publication’s draft.

The Policy Briefing analyzes normative policies of armed groups relating to the protection of civilians in armed conflict and other situations of violence, not their operational practice. However, it notes some instances in which the operational practice of a group appears to systematically contradict its stated policy. It is based on declarations and statements by members or representatives of armed groups and policy positions.

Dissemination

The Geneva Academy disseminated the results of the project through regional training workshops in Amman, Bangkok and Nairobi, organized by the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP). Other events to disseminate the Policy Briefing have also been held in Brussels, Geneva, London and New York.

In recognition of the prominence and importance of this work, senior staff from the Geneva Academy were regularly contacted during the year to discuss the project and give advice. For example, the Geneva Academy advised the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and Overseas Development Institute.

The success of this project helped increase awareness among armed non-state actors of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Publications

Cover of the Policy Briefing No1: Reactions to Norms Armed Groups and the Protection of Civilians

Reactions to Norms Armed Groups and the Protection of Civilians

January 2014

Alice Priddy

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Download > Download >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Donbass, destruction before a building News

Our Experts and Resources on Ukraine

15 December 2022

Discover our resources and what our experts say about the situation in Ukraine, with regular updates to include new events, articles and comments!

Read more

A session of the PhD Forum predecessor, the Geneva Academy Wednesdays News

The PhD Forum: A Space for Exchange for Researchers and PhD Students

11 November 2022

The Geneva Academy PhD Forum is a space that gathers PhD researchers and experts – in Geneva and beyond – who work in the scientific focus area of the Geneva Academy.

Read more

Nuclear missiles Event

Changing the Rules of the (Nuclear) Game: Voices from the Humanitarian, Technological, Strategic and Legal Fields

20 February 2023, 18:00-19:30

This IHL Talk will address today's place of nuclear weapons, including their humanitarian impact, the impact of technological advancements, the relevance of the deterrence narrative and implications on the international legal framework.

Read more

Aleppo, Syria: great Umayyad mosque. Destructions. Event

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.

Read more

Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

27 April - 8 June 2023

This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

Read more

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.

Read more

Screen Shot of Obsolete, a game made for the 7DFPS project in 7 days. Download for PC and Mac Project

Disruptive Military Technologies

Started in February 2020

This project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.

Read more

Surveillance Camera Project

COUNTER-TERROR PROJECT: A LEGAL EMPIRICAL APPROACH

Started in June 2019

The ‘Counter-Terror Pro LegEm’ project combines legal analysis with social science research to (1) examine the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and their effects on human rights and (2) analyse the structure of terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State and see whether they qualify as ‘organized armed groups’ for the purpose of international humanitarian law.

Read more

Cover page of the study Publication

From Words to Deeds A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms: Research and Policy Conclusions

published on September 2022

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

Read more