Asser researcher Thilo Marauhn re-elected to the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission

Published 24 November 2021

For the third time in a row, Asser researcher and Special Chair Arms Control Law, Prof. Dr Thilo Marauhn has been elected to serve a five-year term in the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFCC), which investigates alleged war crimes. Marauhn was nominated by the Federal Republic of Germany. IHFFC members act in a personal capacity and respect the principle of impartiality.

The IHFCC is a permanent body of fifteen independent experts, which in 1991, was established by Article 90 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The main purpose of the commission is to ensure respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in armed conflicts. At the request of a party to an armed conflict, its members investigate alleged war crimes or other serious violations of IHL. The IHFCC reports its findings to the states involved and gives recommendations. In addition, the Commission can offer its good offices in order to facilitate the restoration of an attitude of respect for international humanitarian law. In 2017, the IHFCC performed its first operative mission upon request by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The fifteen members of the Commission are to be of high moral standing and acknowledged impartiality. They are elected to five-year terms by those states parties which have accepted the competence of the Commission. The members serve in their personal capacities, an obligation which is reinforced by the solemn declaration that they all make that they will exercise their functions as members impartially, conscientiously and in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol and the rules including those concerning secrecy. Among the current members are medical doctors, judges, high ranking military experts, diplomats and scholars of international law.

‘Achieving sustainable peace’
Marauhn is pleased with his re-election: “While the Commission has managed to boost its visibility among members of the international community, more work remains to be done. To that end, it is my desire, over the next five years, to contribute to further pursuing this strategic direction and work with states to promote the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, advance its increased deployment and thus strengthen respect for International Humanitarian Law. Such respect allows for reconciliation and contributes to achieving sustainable peace.”

The newly elected members of the IHFFC will take office in March 2022.

About Thilo Marauhn
Prof. Dr Thilo Marauhn is a widely recognised expert in international law and currently serves as the President of the IHFFC. In September 2021, Marauhn was appointed Extraordinary Professor of International Arms Control Law at the Amsterdam Law School of the University of Amsterdam (Uva). As Extraordinary Professor and Asser researcher, Marauhn focuses on innovative research on arms control law, a highly specialised and relevant field of law. In his research, Marauhn addresses international arms control law in the area of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Marauhn is further acting as the head of the Research Group on International Law at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) since 2016, a member of the Leibniz Association.

About the Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims
The Geneva Conventions of 1949 as supplemented by the additional Protocols of 1977 set out principles and rules, binding on the parties to armed conflicts, designed to protect the victims of those conflicts. From the outset those responsible for the Conventions have realised that it is not enough simply to state the rules, so provision must be made for the implementation and enforcement of the rules.

The Conventions and Protocols thus require the parties to disseminate knowledge of the rules to their armed forces and to acknowledge the role of the protecting powers and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and to provide for the prosecution and punishment of individuals who breach the rules.

Read more
Thilo Marauhn appointed Extraordinary Professor of International Arms Control Law
Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn (58) has been appointed Extraordinary Professor of International Arms Control Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Marauhn will conduct research on international arms control agreements and their compliance. The new Chair was established on behalf of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut for International and European Law and with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Netherlands. Read more.