New Guidelines on Investigating Violations of International Humanitarian Law

Noam Lubell, Professor of International Law at the University of Essex and Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) at the Geneva Academy, has co-authored new Guidelines for States on how to investigate allegations in armed conflict.

The Guidelines on Investigating Violations of IHL: Law, Policy, and Good Practice are the outcome of a five-year research project, which was initiated in 2014 in partnership with the Geneva Academy of IHL and Human Rights and joined in 2017 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The new Guidelines are set to become the international benchmark for effective investigations into violations of international humanitarian law in all conflicts around the world. Being sensitive to the differences that characterise domestic legal and investigative systems, they identify several practical and legal issues that may arise in such investigations or should be considered beforehand. Their overarching aim is “to provide practical assistance by setting out a general framework for investigations in armed conflict and, where relevant, the corresponding international principles and standards”.

Professor Lubell addressing the New York Diplomatic Community. Image: Geneva Academy

Professor Lubell’s co-authors were Jelena Pejic, Senior Legal Adviser at the ICRC, and Claire Simmons, a Researcher at Essex Human Rights Centre and PhD candidate in the School of Law. Their findings were presented in October 2019 in New York before delegates from the UN General Assembly First and Sixth Commissions, UN agencies and other experts in an event co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN.

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