Introducing Ezequiel Heffes as co-editor and a reflection

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.

I’m very pleased to announce that Ezequiel Heffes has joined the blog as an editor. Ezequiel is probably known to many for his work in the area of armed groups and international law.

Ezequiel is a Thematic Legal Adviser at Geneva Call, a humanitarian NGO that engages armed non-State actors in the respect of international law. He holds an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from the Geneva Academy, and a law degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Law. Prior to joining Geneva Call, Ezequiel worked as a field and protection delegate and as head of office for the ICRC in Colombia, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has participated in research projects and has published various articles and book chapters on armed non-State actors, including in the International Review of the Red Cross, the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law and the Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law. He will be writing on the blog in his personal capacity.

At the same time as Ezequiel joins the blog, Annyssa Bellal will step down from her position as editor. Thank you Annyssa for your contribution over the last couple of years!

As I write this post, it seems like a good time to reflect on the history of this blog. I set it up in 2012 when I was doing my PhD on armed groups and human rights law (for my book on the topic – see here). I’d just had my first child, and it was hard to travel or network in any meaningful way with a small baby at home. I set up this blog to find an online way to make connections with other researchers working on similar issues.

The two main purposes of the blog were and remain ‘information sharing’ and ‘community building’ between individuals and organisations working on issues related to armed groups. In addition to publishing analytical posts, the blog aims to provide updates on news stories and publicize academic journal articles and seminars, talks and conferences on issues related to armed groups.

During the blog’s lifetime, we have posted over 900 posts which have reached over 55,000 visitors from over 180 countries. We have posted literally hundreds of news roundups and nine legal roundups (for the most recent legal roundup see here), which we know are valued by our readers. All our posts are carefully tagged so that researchers can search the blog easily using our word could and search button. We have had guest posts from Cedric Ryngaert, Ido Rosenzeig, Marissa R. Brodney, Lily Rueda Guzman, Erik Zouave (see here, here and here), Jennifer Easterday, Nelleke van Amstel, Diana Contreras-Garduno and Dan Saxon.

Our most read posts remain those dealing with the organisation requirement for non-international armed conflict, the geographical scope of IHL and the unilateral declaration by the Polisario Front.

We have some exciting plans for the blog in the coming months – so please keep following the blog, and watch this space! Also, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to write a guest post or have a relevant publication that you think we should publicize.

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