The updated Commentaries are an interpretive compass emerging from more than 60 years of application and interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. Over the course of 2016, several academic blogs are hosting a joint series that brings to light the significance of the updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention.
Last March, the ICRC released an updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention of 1949 (GCI), the first installment of six new Commentaries aimed at bringing the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977, to the 21st century.
This blog series is co-hosted by Intercross, Opinio Juris, a forum on international law and relations, and Humanitarian Law & Policy, an ICRC blog powered by the International Review of the Red Cross.
This multi-blog venture is divided into three episodes, each focusing on a GCI provision – or a theme within a set of provisions – whose application and/or interpretation have evolved and give rise to debate among States and commentators. For each episode, the three blogs will invite one author each to either initiate the conversation or act as respondent. The three episodes are respectively scheduled for this summer, fall and winter 2016.
This page will be regularly updated with past and upcoming posts, along with an evolving publication calendar.
To kick off the series, Humanitarian Law & Policy invites Jean-Marie Henckaerts, Head of the Update Project at ICRC, by locating the GCI Updated Commentary into the legal landscape and applying the rules on treaty interpretation to the Geneva Conventions.
Schedule of posts:
Locating the Geneva Conventions Commentaries in the International Legal Landscape - Jean-Marie Henckaerts, head of unit in charge of the update of the ICRC Commentaries on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, June 29, 2016.
The Role of the ICRC Commentaries in Understanding International Humanitarian Law - Sean D. Murphy, Professor of International Law at George Washington University and Member of the U.N. International Law Commission
First Thoughts from Academia on the Updated GCI Commentary - Kevin Jon Heller, Professor of Criminal Law, SOAS, University of London, Principal Fellow, Melbourne Law School, Academic Member, Doughty Street Chambers, and blogs regularly at Opinio Juris, July 22, 2016