Non-State Actors

Is the protection afforded by international law during armed conflicts robust enough in light of the nature of today’s conflicts where armed groups often control large populations and territories? What is the role of armed groups in the creation and implementation of the rules they are expected to respect? What are the responsibilities of business enterprises operating in conflict zones? What about the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity by their staff? 

‘Non-state actors’ – whether armed groups or large multinational business companies – are important actors in contemporary international relations. Most armed conflicts are today of a non-international character, involving numerous armed groups who can control a territory or a population, raising issues about the suitability of the existing protection framework afforded by international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Similar challenges arise in relation to the activities of businesses or transnational companies, notably when they operate in conflict zones or situations of armed violence. 

Our research in this domain explores the extent to which these actors are bound by international law, whether the existing legal framework provides adequate protection and proposes concrete solutions to address these contemporary challenges. 

OUR PROJECTS

Past projects

RESEARCH

Business, Human Rights and Conflict-Affected Regions

Completed in 2022

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RESEARCH

Business and Human Rights: Towards a Decade of Global Implementation

Completed in 2022

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RESEARCH

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Completed in 2021

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RESEARCH

Human Rights and Gender Equality in the Context of Business Activities

Completed in 2020

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RESEARCH

‘Foreign Fighters’ and Counter-Terrorism

Completed in 2018

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RESEARCH

Armed Non-State Actors and the Human Rights Council

Completed in 2016

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RESEARCH

Armed Non-State Actors and the Protection of Civilians

Completed in 2015

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RESEARCH

Rules of Engagement

Completed in 2011

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RESEARCH

The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers

Completed in 2010

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Our Director Professor Gaggioli Participated in the European Humanitarian Forum

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