The International Criminal Court (ICC) is heralded as a significant development in the field of international justice and accountability. Established by the Rome Statute, the ICC is a unique legal mechanism in terms of its broad jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression. Though the ICC represents an important commitment to international justice, it is not free from challenges and critique. One such issue is the relationship between the ICC and humanitarian actors. Humanitarian actors often have unparalleled access in the contexts the Court investigates, and because of this humanitarians may be approached to cooperate with the Court. Such cooperation, however, complicates – and potentially directly threatens – the principles that govern humanitarians’ operations. This event explored the issues and debates stemming from the relationship between the ICC and humanitarian actors.

Guest expert

Théo Boutruche Théo Boutruche is an independent consultant in international human rights and humanitarian law (currently legal adviser with the MENA Programme of the International Commission of Jurists). He has previously worked as an employee or as a consultant for various organisations such as Freedom from Torture, Diakonia, REDRESS, Amnesty International, Save the Children and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He conducted research, and fact-finding work in conflict and post-conflict settings such as Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Georgia, DRC, Uganda, and Kenya. He was the IHL/Human Rights Expert of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia. He is also a member of the Harvard Group of Professionals on Monitoring, Reporting and Fact-finding and contributed as an expert to the drafting of the International Protocol
on the Documentation
and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict: Basic Standards of Best Practice on the Documentation of Sexual Violence. He published several articles in law reviews and contributions to books on international law related issues. His Ph.D. thesis on “The Prohibition of Superfluous Injury or Unnecessary Suffering in International Humanitarian Law” was awarded the 2009 ICRC Paul Reuter Prize for international humanitarian law. He created and manages The Art of Facts – A LEGAL BLOG on Fact-finding and Armed ConflicTS, at: He is also currently teaching at Notre-Dame University and Saint-Joseph Kaslik University in Lebanon and has taught international law, human rights law and IHL in various universities in Europe, most recently at the University College London.

Event host

Elizabeth Holland Elizabeth Holland Consulting Expert on International Humanitarian Law, International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP)


Recording (YouTube - faster loading time)

Recording (Adobe Connect - higher quality)

Session recording (downloadable audio podcast)

Recommended reading

For those who wish to prepare for the session, we recommend the following reading:

For further reading, please also see:

Learning objectives

  • Review of humanitarian principles, and in particular neutrality and independence, in the context of potential cooperation with international tribunals, and in particular the International Criminal Court (ICC).
  • Examination of the possible role(s) humanitarian organizations may play in investigations and/or prosecutions undertaken by international tribunals, and what benefits and risks these may entail.
  • Brief introduction to the context, goals and methods of fact-finding and/or information gathering activities as commonly undertaken by humanitarian organizations.
  • Analysis of the possible impact on humanitarian organizations (including risk, security and perception) based on their undertaking information collection activities concerning potential crimes.
  • Discussion of potential challenges and responses to interaction by humanitarian organizations with international tribunals such as the ICC.


PHAP members will have the possibility to undergo a two-part assessment after the session as part of the PHAP Continuous Learning Credits framework.

Part 1: Comprehension check

Part 2: Written reflection

To encourage peer learning among members, selected essay responses will also be published on the website, if approved by the writer. As a member, you can comment on the responses and read other members' comments.

Read the written reflections

PHAP Credentialing Program

PHAP Credentialing Program

International Legal Frameworks for Humanitarian Action

This event will help you prepare for the PHAP Credentialing Program certification in International Legal Frameworks for Humanitarian Action.

In particular, the event will address segment 6.1 of the certification assessment outline.

Read more about the PHAP Credentialing Program