THE OBLIGATION TO RESPECT AND ENSURE RESPECT OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW IN CONTEMPORARY CONFLICTS

When: 8 November | 1:00 – 2:00PM

Where: Melbourne Law School | Room 224 | Level 2 | 185 Pelham St, Carlton

Today’s wars are marked by widespread disrespect for the laws that govern fighting, with hospitals attacked, cultural property destroyed and civilians displaced in their millions. In order to reduce the enormous suffering that characterises contemporary armed conflicts, there is a pressing need to generate increased respect for international humanitarian law. Under the Geneva Conventions, States Parties are required to ‘’respect and ensure respect’’ for the law, but how should this be implemented in practice?

Join International Committee of the Red Cross legal adviser Jean-Marie Henckaerts for a thought-provoking reflection on the challenges of ensuring respect for IHL, as part of this special lunchtime event marking the launch of the updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention. Drawing on the last 60 years of State practice and scholarship, this long-awaited commentary has exposed a range of developments in the interpretation and application of the Geneva Conventions since their adoption in 1949.

Jean-Marie Henckaerts is head of the ICRC project to update the Commentaries on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. The first milestone of this project was reached on 22 March when the updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention was released on line. Prior to this, he was the head of the ICRC’s project on customary international humanitarian law; he is a co-author of the ICRC study on the subject. He holds the degrees of Doctor of Juridical Science from The George Washington University Law School, Master of Laws from the University of Georgia School of Law and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Brussels. He has published seven books and numerous articles on international law, international humanitarian law and human rights law.