International Humanitarian Law and the United Nations Security Council

Started in January 2020

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 this legal framework. The prevailing discourse on the UNSC's dynamics also often focuses on the organ’s five permanent members to the exclusion of the so-called ‘E10’.

Objectives

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with over 30 experts (scholars, diplomats, as well as representatives of the United Nations, NGOs and relevant international organizations), this project aims at critically assessing how the UNSC has recently dealt with IHL. Drawing from this organ’s practice as well as from identifiable legal and/or political dynamics, it will notably – to the extent possible – formulate recommendations to policy-makers working with this organ to ensure consistency in addressing IHL issues. The project will also particularly focus on the potential roles of the UNSC’s elected members (the above-mentioned ‘E10’).

RESEARCHERS

Portrait of Emilie Max

Émilie Max

Researcher

Émilie Max's research focuses s on the intersection between international humanitarian law and international human rights law

NEWS AND EVENTS

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

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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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Libya, destroyed houses News

Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law: Contributions by our Professors and Experts

May 2020

Six out of the 18 chapters of the new Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law – edited by Ben Saul and Dapo Akande – have been written or co-written by Geneva Academy’s professors or experts.

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Online conference on the status and protection of animals in armed conflict News

Two-Day Conference Discusses the Status and Protection of Animals in Armed Conflict

June 2020

On 11 and 26 June 2020, academics and experts in the field of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and animal law discussed online controversial issues related to the status and protection of animals in armed conflict in the context of a research project on this issue.

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Computer code Event

Launch Event: Joint Initiative on the Digitalization of Conflict

October 2020, 10:00-12:00

This panel discussion marks the Launch of our New Research Initiative, carried out jointly by our Swiss IHL Chair Robin Geiß and the ICRC.

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Mali,  Gao region, Ansongo cercle, Fafa. ICRC dissemination session about international humanitarian law for the army of Mali. Event

Thinking out of the (Tool)Box: Promoting Implementation of and Respect for International Humanitarian Law

November 2020, 18:00-19:30

This IHL Talk aims at shining light on the various ways of promoting respect for and implementation of international humanitarian law.

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The International Court of Justice in session Short Course

Sources of Public International Law

8 January - February 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, looks at the sources from which public international law rules stem and at the entities that are empowered with the capacity of law-making in the international legal order. It aims at enabling participants to develop a global perception of the international normative system.

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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

6 November - December 2020

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, examines the conduct of hostilities in situations of international armed conflict, also known as the Law of The Hague.

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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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ICC Trial Chamber VIII declares Mr Al Mahdi guilty of the war crime of attacking historic and religious buildings in Timbuktu and sentences him to nine years’ imprisonment Project

Modes of Liability for International Crimes

Completed in January 2015

This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.

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Cover page of the Annual Report 2019 Publication

Annual Report 2019

published on May 2020

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Cover of the publication Publication

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

published on December 2019

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

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