The Human Rights Council and the Convergence of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law
SHAPING A GLOBAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR COUNTERINSURGENCY: NEW DIRECTIONS IN ASYMMETRIC WARFARE, William Banks, ed., Oxford Univ. Press, 2012
44 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 4, 2012
This Article examines and challenges the assumption that the Human Rights Council can and ought to address violations of international humanitarian law. Though envisaged as the main guardian of human rights within the United Nations system, the Human Rights Council views its mandate as encompassing both human rights and international humanitarian law. This extension of its mandate to humanitarian law is not entirely surprising, given the close relationship between IHL and human rights law. Yet, a comparison with other human rights bodies shows that the Council has gone further and with less caution than any other human right body called upon to interpret or apply IHL. I argue that the Human Rights Council has neither the expertise nor the mandate to address IHL matters – and that the experience of other human rights bodies demonstrates that such a level of encroachment upon IHL is not inevitable. I address the implications of having the Human Rights Council develop, interpret and apply IHL, and advocate that limits be placed on the convergence of human rights law and humanitarian law.
Keywords: Mandate, international organization, humanitarian law, human rights, jurisdiction, expertise
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