Jelena Pejic

Jelena Pejic Bio Photo

Jelena Pejic

Senior Fellow | Lieber & 2023 Lieber Scholar

Jelena Pejic is a former Senior Legal Adviser in the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva.

In over twenty years with the ICRC, Ms. Pejic was responsible for the range of the organization’s legal policy work related to the treatment of persons in enemy hands, including the law and practice of detention in armed conflict and other situations of violence. She also developed institutional positions on the relationship between IHL and terrorism, the extraterritorial use of force, the legal and practical challenges posed by non-State armed groups, investigating violations of IHL, and other issues. Together with colleagues from the Swiss government she was in charge of a multiyear inter-governmental process mandated by the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent devoted to Strengthening Respect for IHL (2011-2019).

Ms Pejic initiated and coordinated the ICRC’s work on the notion of direct participation in hostilities. She also conceptualized, and edited, the ICRC’s public quadrennial report on “IHL and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts”, which showcases the organization’s views on a variety of current IHL topics.

Ms. Pejic initially joined the ICRC as a Legal Adviser on IHL and Human Rights. Between 2002 and 2008 she was Head of the ICRC’s Project on the Reaffirmation and Development of IHL, which aimed to provide the organization’s response to a number of pressing legal and policy issues generated by the “war on terrorism”.

Prior to joining the ICRC, Ms. Pejic was a Senior Program Coordinator at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York (now Human Rights First), responsible for the Committee’s work on issues of international criminal justice, including the establishment of an International Criminal Court (ICC). She led HRF’s delegation to the 1998 Rome Conference for an ICC.

Ms. Pejic holds an LL.M. degree from Columbia University Law School in New York, and a law degree from Belgrade University Law School. She was a lecturer in Public International Law and International Relations at Belgrade Law School.

She has written and presented extensively on various issues of IHL, human rights and criminal law.

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