Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity Or Utopia?

Beyond the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), international humanitarian law (IHL) currently lacks mechanisms to ensure effectively its own compliance.

Such structural flaw has left victims of violations ‘in search of a forum’ and thus prompted a frequent recourse to the more-developed human rights machinery, even if the opportuneness of this tendency has long been – and remains – debated in both intergovernmental and scholarly forums.

The working paper Implementing International Humanitarian Law through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity or Utopia? provides an overview of this trend, derives provisional lessons-learned on the opportuneness of human rights bodies dealing with IHL and examines issues that would deserve further academic and/or practical examination.

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.

This paper was presented at a scientific colloquium on this issue at the 2019 Geneva Human Rights Week organized by the University of Geneva in cooperation with the Geneva Academy.

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