Room for Manoeuvre? Promoting International Humanitarian Law and Accountability While at the United Nations Security Council: A Reflection on the Role of Elected Members

In recent years, the UNSC has been increasingly dealing with international humanitarian law (IHL) through specific debates as well as thematic and/or country resolutions. This involvement culminated in 2019 with the successive celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the agenda item on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (the so-called ‘PoC agenda’) and the seventieth anniversary of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

Room for Manoeuvre? Promoting International Humanitarian Law and Accountability While at the United Nations Security Council: A Reflection on the Role of Elected Members assesses the United Nations (UN) Security Council’s (UNSC) recent engagement with  IHL.

After some preliminary remarks, the Briefing lays out the institutional framework relevant to the functioning of the UNSC and the specificities associated with non-permanent membership. Moving from the abstract to the concrete, it then assesses the UNSC’s recent practice on IHL and accountability in relation to the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, the PoC agenda, other relevant thematic agenda items (Children and Armed Conflict and Women, Peace and Security, respectively), as well as counterterrorism measures and sanctions regimes.

The publication offers a set of guiding questions, framed in very general terms, to ensure and develop a principled IHL engagement in the formulation of policies at the UNSC.

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