Winner of the

Masters of Disorder: Rituals of Communication and Monitoring at the International Committee of the Red Cross

Julie Billaud


The mandate of the ICRC as granted by the Geneva Conventions is to act as a ‘guardian of International Humanitarian Law’ on the frontlines of conficts. In this paper, Julie Billaud pays specifc attention to activities carried out by ICRC delegates to protect various categories of victims in times of war. By focusing on the ways in which delegates interpret the principles (‘neutrality’, ‘impartiality’, ‘confdentiality’) that guide their actions, Billaud seeks to decipher the organisation’s ethos and worldview. Finally she examines how these techniques, built on the hope in the possibility of communication, are changing as a result of external sources of pressure for ‘evidence‐based programming’, turning personalised case‐based monitoring into a new form of ‘audit culture’ based on statistical evidence.

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