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.
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.
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.
While this research does 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 will:
- Provide a useful background for discussion at the scientific colloquium of the 2019 Geneva Human Rights Week (14–-15 November 2019), and
- Identify 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.