(This event is organised by MEI’s Transsystemic Research Cluster, as part of its monthly internal seminar series.)
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) protects property but does not define it. Within the IHL framework, terms such as “booty of war” are subject to much controversy and so are the private/public and movable/immovable dichotomies to which IHL provisions refer to. The meaning of the term “appropriation” in art. 147 Geneva Convention IV (GC IV) remains to be established. In NIAC, IHL contains very little rules on rights and obligations of non-state armed groups and Customary International Humanitarian Law does not offer much support on these issues. Against this background, both in case of IAC and NIAC, certain guidelines can be found in other branches of International Law, including International Human Rights Law and Investment Law, and in Comparative Law. Notwithstanding evident similarities between these latter fields of law, the protection and notion of property under these systems appear to be quite different because of the different functions these systems have and are, therefore, of limited support. Thus, one has to find a meaning within IHL but not overemphasize borderline cases (e.g. because in occupied territories, if it is not regulated by the IHL rules on property, it will be governed by art. 43 Hague Regulation IV, concerning legislation).
About the Speaker
Margherita D’Ascanio is a Regional Legal Adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Prior to joining the ICRC in 2014, she worked for several law firms and NGOs, as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In 2016, she was Teaching Assistant at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. She holds an LL.M from this same institution and is a Ph.D candidate at the Law Faculty of the University of Geneva.