International Norms under Pressure: State Compliance with International Humanitarian & Human Rights Law
The 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, which govern the rules of war, have been adopted by nearly every state. The fundamental underlying principles they espouse – including protection of civilians in times of conflict – are universal values, as well as foundational principles of customary international law. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, has exposed the limitations of this consensus, as the world finds itself powerless to prevent war crimes from being committed and uncertain as to whether accountability will ever be possible. Even efforts to provide principled condemnation have struggled to achieve universal support.
Are these challenges simply an inevitable reflection of today’s geopolitics, leaving us few practical options to confront a nuclear power and Global South countries hedging their bets to avoid choosing a side? Or does it suggest more serious cracks are forming in the post-World War II international order? After all, this is not the first, nor the last, conflict to involve serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. How can we build a global consensus on fundamental values that goes beyond the transatlantic alliance and reflects the views of Africa, Asia, and Latin America? And how can great powers be held equally to account?
Join CSIS on May 20th at 9:30 a.m. EST, for a discussion on state compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. John J. Hamre, CSIS President and CEO, will provide opening remarks followed by a panel discussion. The panel will be moderated by Marti Flacks, director of Human Rights Initiative, and will feature Cordula Droege, chief legal officer and head of the Legal Division at International Committee of the Red Cross, Oona Hathaway, Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of Law and professor of Political Science at Yale University, and Chanaka Wickremasinghe, Minister-Counsellor and Legal Adviser for the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations. The event will conclude with remarks by J. Stephen Morrison, director of Global Health Policy Center.
This event is made possible by general support to CSIS.