Investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law by the parties to an armed conflict are not only crucial to securing respect for IHL, but also to preventing future violations and enabling redress for victims of past violations. Despite the unquestionable importance of investigations, there is a lack of detail with regard to the international law, principles and standards relevant to investigations in armed conflicts. The “Guidelines on Investigating Violations of International Humanitarian Law”, co-published in September 2019 by the ICRC and the Geneva Academy, aim to bring clarity and support for the conduct of effective investigations into violations of IHL.
Claire Simmons is a PhD candidate at the University of Essex Law School, focusing her research on the independence and impartiality of military justice systems under international law. She is co-author of the “Guidelines on Investigating Violations of International Humanitarian Law: Law, Policy, and Good Practice” with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Claire has worked with the British Red Cross and local human rights organisations in Thailand, France and the UK. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law from the University of Essex.