International Humanitarian Law and the United Nations Security Council

Completed in December 2021

The past few years have seen an increase in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s focus on international humanitarian law (IHL), a trend that started before and goes beyond the 2019 commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. In 2019, the UNSC notably adopted resolutions on missing persons in armed conflict, as well as on the situation of persons with disabilities in armed conflict and humanitarian emergencies (resolutions 2474 and 2475, respectively).

However, contrary to other thematic issues such as the rule of law or individual criminal accountability, little attention has been paid to the consistency – or lack thereof – of the UNSC’s practice in relation to IHL.

This project – carried out by Emilie Max – aimed at critically assessing how the UNSC has recently dealt with IHL.

NEWS

UNMISS Peacekeepers News

New Working Paper Examines the Role of Peacekeeping Operations in Ensuring Respect for IHL

5 October 2021

The UN Security Council and Common Article 1: Understanding the Role of Peacekeeping Operations in Ensuring Respect for IHL examines the applicability of article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 – on the obligation to respect and ensure respect for IHL – to the UN, with a specific focus on peacekeeping operations.

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A view of the UN Security Council News

New Briefing Examines the Promotion of IHL at the UN Security Council

12 November 2020

Our new Briefing assesses the UN Security Council’s recent engagement with international humanitarian law and accountability.

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A man enters the room of the UN Security Council News

New Research Project Focuses on How the United Nations Security Council deals with IHL

2 April 2020

This research will analyse how the UN Security Council has recently dealt with international humanitarian law (IHL) and formulate a series of recommendations to policy-makers working with this organ to ensure consistency in addressing IHL issues.

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OUTPUT

An Assessment of the UN Security Council's Engagement with IHL

The publication 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 UN Security Council’s (UNSC) recent engagement with international humanitarian law (IHL) in relation to the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 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. It was launched both in Geneva and New York during an online IHL Talk that addressed the substantial and/or procedural challenges to the effective and principled promotion of IHL at the UNSC, including from a State’s perspective.

Detailing the Role of UN Peacekeeping Operations in Ensuring Respect for IHL

The Working Paper The UN Security Council and Common Article 1: Understanding the Role of Peacekeeping Operations in Ensuring Respect for IHL examines the applicability of article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 – on the obligation to respect and ensure respect for IHL – to the UN, with a specific focus on peacekeeping operations.

In doing so, it examines how modern peacekeeping operations with multidimensional mandates engage in activities aimed at – or amounting to – promoting compliance with IHL, including in relation to the UNSC  thematic agenda items – namely Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict; Women, Peace and Security; and Children in Armed Conflict.

Publications

Cover of the publication

The UN Security Council and Common Article 1: Understanding the Role of Peacekeeping Operations in Ensuring Respect for IHL

October 2021

Emilie Max

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the Briefing

Briefing No°17: Room for Manoeuvre? Promoting International Humanitarian Law and Accountability While at the United Nations Security Council: A Reflection on the Role of Elected Members

October 2020

Emilie Max

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

Sisyphean Task: Promoting International Law while at the United Nations Security Council

28 January 2021, 15:00-16:30

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Members of the 2022 Geneva Academy Pictet Team News

Our 2022 Pictet Team

24 January 2022

Francesca Gortan, Sarah Surget and Sophie Timmermans will represent the Geneva Academy at the 38th Edition of the Jean-Pictet Competition that will take place from 19 to 26 March in Durrës, Albania.

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Statute representing justice News

Two Alumna Distinguished at the 2022 ASIL Annual Meeting

25 April 2022

Dr Jelena Plamenac and Charlotte Labrosse received prestigious distinctions at the 2022 Annual meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) in April this year.

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Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's Perspectives on a Career in International Law

6 July 2022, 13:00-14:30

In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.

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Ukraine, damaged bicycle and car in front of a destroyed building Short Course

Protection of Persons and Property in International Armed Conflict

Fall 2022

This short course examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict, also known as the Law of The Hague.

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A wide view of the UN Security Council Short Course

Sanctions in Public International Law

Fall 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides an introduction to the regime of sanctions under international law and their effectiveness in addressing contemporary forms of conflict. It addresses the questions related to state responsibility, the pacific settlement of international disputes and the role of the International Court of Justice.

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Central African Republic, Ouham province, village of Ouogo. International Humanitarian Law dissemination session to members of the Peoples' Army for the Restoration of Democracy. Project

From Words to Deeds: A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms

Started in January 2017

This project aims at compiling and analysing the practice and interpretation of selected international humanitarian law and human rights norms by armed non-state actors (ANSAs). It has a pragmatic double objective: first, to offer a comparative analysis of IHL and human rights norms from the perspective of ANSAs, and second, to inform strategies of humanitarian engagement with ANSAs, in particular the content of a possible ‘Model Code of Conduct’.

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Screen Shot of Obsolete, a game made for the 7DFPS project in 7 days. Download for PC and Mac Project

Disruptive Military Technologies

Started in February 2020

This project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.

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Cover of the Publication Publication

The Future Digital Battlefield and Challenges for Humanitarian Protection: A Primer

published on April 2022

Henning Lahmann

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