ICRC Panels on Law of Naval Warfare, Military Commissions at International Law Weekend in NYC October 20-21, 2017

The American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) and the International Law Students Association (ILSA) is hosting their annual International Law Weekend (ILW) conference in New York City from October 19-21, 2017. The event brings together hundreds of practitioners, law professors, members of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and students. The theme of ILW 2017 is “International Law in Challenging Times.” For our NYC-based readers, there will be two panels featuring ICRC speakers. The full schedule is available here. Register here

The Future of the Law of Naval Warfare: The Launch of the ICRC's Updated Commentary to the Second Geneva Convention

Friday, October 20 4:45pm, Room 2-01B

In May 2017, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched an updated version of its commentary on the Second Geneva Convention of 1949, which protects the wounded, sick, shipwrecked of the armed forces at sea as well as certain other persons and objects, including medical personnel and hospital ships. While military capabilities have evolved rapidly in the naval domain, the Second Geneva Convention has remained unchanged since its adoption, leaving many unanswered questions in an age when tensions in places like the South China Sea have increased the possibility of maritime conflicts. The panelists will discuss some of the key issues that were tackled in the updated Commentaries, and will give their unique perspectives on how the law of armed conflict should apply to armed conflict at sea in the future, in particular when it comes to the protection of victims.

Moderator: Nathalie Weizmann, Senior Legal Officer, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


  • Philip Spoerri, Head of Delegation to the United Nations in New York, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Alexia Solomou, Associate Legal Officer, International Court of Justice
  • Lt Col Jeffrey Biller, Military Professor, Stockton Center for the Study of International Law
  • Lt Cdr Peter Barker, Associate Director, Law of Coalition Warfare, Stockton Center for the Study of International Law
  • Julian Ku, Professor of Law, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

Habeas, PRBs, and Military Commissions: What legal redress would new captures sent to Guantanamo have?

Saturday, October 21 10:45 am, Room 2-01B

The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has long been a controversial, seemingly unsolvable legal dilemma. Progress has been made with respect to the legal resources available to detainees, particularly after Boumediene guaranteed habeas to Guantanamo detainees, the Military Commissions Act was revised in 2009, and the Periodic Review Boards (PRBs) commenced in 2013, but challenges have remained for the remaining 41 detainees. The panelists will address these legal and political challenges, and how they may affect future captures brought to Guantanamo.

Moderator: Andrea Harrison, Deputy Legal Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross Washington DC; Board of Directors, ABILA


  • Ashika Singh, Debevoise and Plimpton; formerly State Department, Office of the Legal Advisor, Political and Military Affairs
  • Jason Wright, Wright Law Firm; formerly defense counsel with the Office of the Military Commissions
  • Wells Dixon, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights