Joint Series: First Thoughts from Academia on the Updated GCI Commentary

In the third and final installment of the first episode in this multi-blog series on the updated Commentaries, Opinio Juris has published "First Thoughts from Academia on the Updated GCI Commentary" by Professor Kevin Jon Heller. 

Kevin Jon Heller is a Professor of Criminal Law, SOAS, University of London, a Principal Fellow, Melbourne Law School, an Academic Member, Doughty Street Chambers, and blogs regularly at Opinio Juris.

In conclusion of this episode, Professor Heller responds to Professor Sean Murphy’s post on “The Role of the ICRC Commentaries in Understanding International Humanitarian Law”

ICRC Surgeon Manuel Lopez greets a patient that recently underwent an amputation after being shot while herding his cattle. ©Albert Gonzalez Farran/ICRC

ICRC Surgeon Manuel Lopez greets a patient that recently underwent an amputation after being shot while herding his cattle. ©Albert Gonzalez Farran/ICRC

"Sean Murphy is right that GC I might seem “of lesser significance” than the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions (GC III and GC IV) – and there is no question that IHL scholars everywhere will eagerly await the ICRC’s Commentaries on those Conventions. But that does not detract from the importance of this first Commentary, which represents a remarkable achievement in its own right."

In response to Jean-Marie Henckaerts on “Locating the Commentaries in the International Legal Landscape”:

"I think Henckaerts actually underplays one of the most encouraging aspects of the ICRC’s methodology: its willingness to make liberal recourse to travaux preparatoires when interpreting provisions of GC I."

Read the full post on Opinio Juris.

Other posts in this series: