* Co-organised with the Oxford Institute for Ethics Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC)

The provision of life-saving assistance to people affected by armed conflict lies at the heart of humanitarian actors’ operations, and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 lay down rules regulating humanitarian relief operations. Despite this, until recently, this area of international humanitarian law has received limited attention, possibly because challenges in implementing relief operations tend to be operational rather than legal in nature.

In 2013, in response to the refusal of some belligerents to allow relief to reach people in extreme need, the United Nations Secretary-General requested the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to examine the relevant rules and consider options for guidance.  In turn, OCHA commissioned the Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at the University of Oxford to convene a series of consultation of legal experts.  These led to the elaboration of the Oxford Guidelines on the Law Regulating Humanitarian Relief Operations in Situations of Armed Conflict: a document that restates existing law, and clarifies areas of uncertainty.  It considers key elements of this area of law, including the question of whose consent is required to conduct relief operations; the circumstances in which withholding consent would be arbitrary; the rules on the implementation of relief operations; and the consequences of unlawful impeding of relief operations.

The Guidance can be assessed at the following link: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/content/oxford-guidance-law-relating-humanitarian-relief-operations-situations-armed-conflict


Emanuela-Chaira Gillard

Emanuela-Chiara Gillard is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, and an Associate Fellow in Chatham House’s International Law Programme.

From 2007 to 2012 she was Chief of the Protection of Civilians Section in the Policy Development and Studies Branch of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Section works with the United Nations and other key partners to promote and enhance the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

For seven years prior to joining OCHA, Emanuela was a legal adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross. There she was responsible for providing advice to headquarters and field on legal issues relating to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, children, assistance, multinational forces, civil/military relations, occupation and private military/security companies.

Before joining the ICRC in 2000, Emanuela was a legal adviser at the United Nations Compensation Commission, in charge of government claims for losses arising from Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait. From 1995 to 1997 she was a research fellow at the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge.

Emanuela holds a B.A. in Law and an LL.M. from the University of Cambridge. She is a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Her research interests include international humanitarian law, with a particular focus on the protection of civilians and mechanisms for promoting compliance; the role of the Security Council in enhancing the protection of civilians; and principled humanitarian action.

Dapo Akande

Dapo Akande is also Yamani Fellow at St. Peter's College and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC). From 2012 to 2017 he was Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations. He has held visiting professorships at Yale Law School (where he was also Robinna Foundation International Fellow), the University of Miami School of Law and the Catolica Global Law School, Lisbon. He was the 2015 Sir Ninian Stephen Visiting Scholar at the University of Melbourne Law School’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law. Before taking up his position in Oxford in 2004, he was Lecturer in Law at the University of Nottingham School of Law (1998-2000) and at the University of Durham (2000-2004). From 1994 to 1998, he taught international law (part-time) at the London School of Economics and at Christ's College and Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.

Dapo has published on varied areas of international law in the American Journal of International Law, the European Journal of International Law, the British Yearbook of International Law, the International & Comparative Law Quarterly, the Journal of International Criminal Justice amongst other journals. His article “The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over Nationals of Non-Parties: Legal Basis and Limits” was awarded the 2003 Journal of International Criminal Justice Prize and his 2016 co-authored piece “The International Legal Framework Regulating the Use of Armed Drones” in the International Comparative Law Quarterly was selected for the ICLQ Annual Lecture 2017. He is one of the authors of Oppenheim's International Law: The United Nations (2017, OUP) and one of the editors of the Practitioners Guide to the Application of Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict (2016, OUP). He was a member of the International Group of Experts that prepared the Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations (2017, CUP) which was commissioned by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. He is also a member of the International Advisory Panel for the American Law Institute’s project on the Restatement Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States.

Dapo is a member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of International Law and previously served on the Editorial Boards of the European Journal of International Law and the African Journal of International and Comparative Law. He is also on the advisory boards of International Law Studies, the Israel Law Review, the Nigerian Yearbook of International Law, and the Ethiopian Yearbook of International Law.  He is a Counsellor on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and serves on the Board of Trustees of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law; the Executive Council of the British Branch of the International Law Association; the Advisory Board of the African Association of International Law; the Advisory Board of the International Centre for Transitional Justice; the Advisory Committee of International Lawyers for Africa; the World Economic Forum's Global Council on the Future of Human Rights; the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (a group of 12 senior African experts on international criminal justice and human rights). He is founding editor of EJIL:Talk! the widely read scholarly blog of the European Journal of International Law.

He has acted as consultant, expert, or adviser on international law issues to United Nations bodies, the African Union Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). He has provided advice to States and non-governmental organizations on matters of international law. In addition, he has assisted counsel, or provided expert opinions in cases before several international tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, international arbitral tribunals in mixed disputes, World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Area Dispute Settlement panels. He has also acted as consultant/adviser in cases in national courts, including the UK Supreme Court. In 2017 he is acting as legal adviser to the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Drone’s Inquiry into the ways in which the UK works with partners on the use of drones.


The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and light lunch and is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.
The group typically meets each Thursday during Oxford terms in The Old Library, All Souls College, with lunch commencing at 12:30. The speaker will commence at 12:45 and speak for about forty minutes, allowing about twenty five minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude before 2:00. Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome. No RSVP is necessary. Join the PIL Email List to receive information about the PIL Discussion Group meetings, as well as other PIL@Oxford news.
To join the Public International Law Discussion Group email list, which offers details of all events and other relevant information, send a message to: pil-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk . (You do not need to write any text in the body of the message, or even put anything in the Subject: line unless your mailer insists on it.) You will be sent a confirmation request, and once you reply to that, a message confirming your subscription will follow. Alternatively, you can send an email to Jenny Hassan to be added to the PIL mailing list.
Convenors of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group are Talita de Souza Dias and Daniel Kaasik.
The discussion group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press.