Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Completed in December 2021

Beyond the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 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.

This research project – carried out by Emilie Max – examined how IHL could be more systematically, appropriately, and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the UN Charter, as well as from universal and regional treaties.

NEWS

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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OUTPUT

Towards an IHL Expert Pool

The research piloted the creation of an IHL expert pool at the service of universal and/or regional treaty-based human rights mechanisms to be hosted at the Geneva Academy. Experts participating in this pool would share their knowledge and experiences in order to provide advice/guidance notably to UN treaty bodies  – notably through amicus curiae, public positions and comments of drafts – depending on the avenues foreseen in the relevant human rights treaties.

Framing the Issue and Identifying Lessons Learned

The Working Paper Implementing International Humanitarian Law through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity or Utopia? identifies 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

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

Donbass, destruction before a building News

Our Experts and Resources on Ukraine

3 March 2024

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

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Yemen,  Sana'a, Faj Attan. Damages to civilian buildings following the fighting. News

A Yearly Global Assessment of IHL Compliance

8 February 2024

We are excited to announce the launch of a new project consisting of the publication of a yearly global annual report assessing compliance with international humanitarian law in contemporary armed conflicts.

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A hand on a wire fence Event

Recognition of Gender Apartheid as an International Crime: Significance and Challenges

18 April 2024, 18:00-19:30

This panel will address crucial questions surrounding the necessity of a legal framework for gender apartheid under international law.

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African Family Event

Biracial Children, African Mothers and Colonization: a Global Case for Reparations

17 April 2024, 18:00-20:00

This side event to the 3rd session of the Permanent Forum for People of African Descent will address a range of demands for justice and reparations from biracial people across Europe and Central Africa.

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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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Panel Discussion: Project

Treaty Body Members’ Platform

Started in January 2014

The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

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A session of the UN Human Rights Council Project

IHL Expert Pool

Started in January 2022

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.

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Cover of the publication Publication

Briefing N° 23: The Human Rights Data Revolution

published on April 2024

Domenico Zipoli

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Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment: Understanding its Scope, States Obligations and Links with Other Human Rights

published on March 2024

Christophe Golay, Baïna Ubushieva

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