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Complementarity between the ICRC and the United Nations and international humanitarian law and international human rights law, 1948–1968

31-12-2012 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 888, by Katharine Fortin


This article shows that between the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Tehran conference in 1968, international human rights law and international humanitarian law and their respective guardian institutions, the United Nations (UN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), were not so conceptually far apart as is sometimes suggested. Its purpose is to give further legitimacy to the role of human rights law in armed conflict and show that cooperation between the UN and the ICRC has a long history.

Keywords: international human rights law, international humanitarian law, ICRC, United Nations, relationship, armed conflict, complementarity.


Katharine Fortin is currently completing a PhD on the accountability of armed groups under human rights law at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.