Open lecture

How Can the Respect of International Humanitarian Law be Improved




Marco Sassòli, professor of international law at the University of Geneva Switzerland and associate professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada

During the lecture they discussed the following topics with students:

  • the crisis of the international community and international law;
  • the essence of the IHL is largely consistent with the contemporary armed conflicts;
  • there has been progress in conflict preventing and punishment (at least in terms of substantive and procedural law);
  • compliance with IHL in the armed conflicts is not sufficient
    • existing mechanisms may be sufficient if they function properly
    • new mechanisms will not be created under the current conditions; thus, mechanisms from other branches of law can fill in the gap
    • challenges from the armed groups;
  • the role of the ICRC
    • continuation of work as a humanitarian organization
    • its priority is reachability, and hence a dialogue
    • the difference between the operational role of the ICRC and its protection of compliance with the IHL, its development and the development of new enforcement mechanisms;
  • the obligation of all States to ensure compliance with IHL (Article 1 of all Geneva Conventions);
  • prevention remains the most perspective way

The sooner you start, the easier it is

  • but the main idea is respect for the enemy
  • in a conflict, learn your duties, and not rights o some obstacles:
  • selective perception of violations
  • widening the gap between promises and the reality that it presents
  • law increasingly promises protection and compliance with IHL
  • in reality, intentional, widespread and systematic violations are increasingly dominated
  • the consequences of the breakdown of confidence
    how to reduce this gap?
  • stop destroying IHL if you do not have better suggestions
  • stricter compliance with IHL
  • more precise promises
  • demonstration of frequent compliance with IHL.