Amidst recurring violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), strengthening compliance with these international norms is indispensable to the protection of civilians in armed conflict. While improvements in accountability have been brought over recent decades to the international judiciary response, particularly with the establishment of the International Criminal Court and Special Tribunals, these mechanisms also face inherent limitations. Moreover, in situations of armed conflict, where the host state may be weakened or unwilling to ensure humanitarian protection and promoting respect for IHL, there is substantial potential for humanitarian professionals to strengthen compliance on the frontlines. Furthermore, despite the responsibility of States to respect and ensure implementation of the law of war, both violations and legal responsibilities are increasingly attributed to members of non-state armed groups as major actors in contemporary armed conflicts.
In conversations with key experts and practitioners, this podcast will examine opportunities for field professionals to play a proactive role in assessing the risks and vulnerabilities of affected populations, interpreting and disseminating IHL obligations, and, ultimately, identifying the appropriate methods of monitoring and reporting violations of IHL committed by state and non-state actors in their operations.
Key questions include:
How can frontline humanitarian professionals contribute through their daily interactions with belligerents and affected communities to improving respect for IHL?
How does the increasing convergence of IHL and international human rights law (IHRL) impact legal standards around access, the responsibility of international organizations, and rights of beneficiary populations?
What new tools, methods or mechanisms are needed to assist humanitarian professionals in ensuring compliance with IHL in the field?