Geneva Call Report: Administration of Justice by Armed Non-State Actors

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

Garance TalksLast week, Geneva Call launched a fascinating new report on the Administration of Justice by Armed-Non State Actors (ANSAs). The report is drafted by Ezequiel Heffes, the thematic legal adviser at Geneva Call who coordinated the Garance Talks 2017 out of which it emerged.

The Garance Talks is a relatively new initiative by Geneva Call which brings together ANSAs and experts biannually to discuss the current challenges faced by ANSAs when attempting to comply with humanitarian norms and to identify possible ways forward in order to enhance their compliance with their obligations under international law.

The report explains how the administration of justice by armed non State actors is relevant to Geneva Call’s work. It continues by setting out how administration of justice by armed non State actors is regulated by (i) international humanitarian law (ii) international criminal law and (iii) international human rights law.

The report then presents views from armed non State actors on:-

a) the legal basis for the establishment of courts and judicial processes by ANSAs and in territories controlled by ANSAs;

b) deprivation of liberty by ANSAs, including the treatment of detainees; and

c) the procedural safeguards –– rights and protection of detainees.

These views emerged during presentations and Q&A sessions by Mr. Edgar Lopez Gomez, a former high-level military commander from the FARC-EP; Mr. Esmat Alabsi, a judge from an area controlled by the Southern Front in Syria; and Mr. Kara Abass Billo, a judge from the SPLM-N. The report ends with conclusions and recommendations.

Very interesting reading!

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