The Geneva Conventions Remain As Relevant As Ever, Part Two

The Geneva Conventions Remain As Relevant As Ever, Part Two

On August 12, 2016 the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols turned 67 and their relevance—despite violations or claims otherwise—remain as important as ever, if not more so.

Our previous post looked at the development of IHL over the last six decades and the role of the ICRC in its origins. In this post, we examine the current challenges facing the rules of war and on the ICRC's ongoing efforts to ensure that the Conventions continue to stand the test of time.

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The Geneva Conventions Remain As Relevant As Ever

The Geneva Conventions Remain As Relevant As Ever

On August 12th, 2016, the Geneva Conventions--which place limits on how war is waged and form the cornerstone of international humanitarian law (IHL)--turn 67. With civilians bearing the brunt of many protracted conflicts, scholars and aid agencies have raised questions about the continued relevance of IHL.  While the nature of warfare has changed unrecognizably since the adoption of the original convention more than 150 years ago, the rules of IHL remain as relevant as ever. 

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Joint Series: The Role of the ICRC Commentaries in Understanding International Humanitarian Law

Joint Series: The Role of the ICRC Commentaries in Understanding International Humanitarian Law

In the second installment of episode 1 in this multi-blog series on the updated Geneva Conventions Commentaries, Professor Sean Murphy responds to Jean-Marie Henckaerts first post.

Professor Murphy teaches International Law at George Washington University and a Member of the U.N. International Law Commission, considers the role of the ICRC commentaries as a matter of treaty law, customary international law, and practical lawyering.

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Joint Series: Locating the Geneva Conventions Commentaries in the International Legal Landscape

Joint Series: Locating the Geneva Conventions Commentaries in the International Legal Landscape

Jean-Marie Henckaerts, head of the unit in charge of the update of the ICRC Commentaries on the First Geneva Conventions, kicks off our multi-blog series. In this first post, Locating the Geneva Conventions Commentaries in the International Legal Landscape, Jean-Marie answers critical questions surrounding the commentaries such as: Where do the ICRC Commentaries fit into the legal landscape? What are the rules governing treaty interpretation and how do they operate in the area of IHL? Where does the ICRC’s legitimacy to interpret the Geneva Conventions stem from? 

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Introducing the First Multi-blog Series on the Updated Geneva Conventions Commentaries

Introducing the First Multi-blog Series on the Updated Geneva Conventions Commentaries

Intercross, along with 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, are co-hosting a multi-blog series on the Updated Geneva Conventions Commentaries. Stay tuned for upcoming posts and an evolving publication calendar.

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Atrocities in Conflict Mean We Need the Geneva Conventions More Than Ever

Atrocities in Conflict Mean We Need the Geneva Conventions More Than Ever

Helen Durham, ICRC's Director of International Law and Policy, authored a piece for The Guardian explaining why Atrocities occurring in modern conflict have shown that we need the Geneva conventions now more than ever and why it is dangerous to give up on them. 

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Official Launch of the Updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention

Official Launch of the Updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention

Today, the ICRC released the updated Commentary to the first Geneva Convention,  which addresses a range of important issues such as the scope of the obligation to respect and ensure respect for humanitarian law, the beginning and end of armed conflict and the protection of the wounded and sick, medical facilities and personnel. 

In this featured Q&A video, Chris Harland, Legal Advisor for the ICRC Regional Delegation for the U.S. and Canada, has provided insight to some of the questions surrounding the release of the updated commentaries.

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ICRC Launches New Guidance Bolstering Relevance of Geneva Conventions

ICRC Launches New Guidance Bolstering Relevance of Geneva Conventions

"The Geneva Conventions are not just some historical documents born of another time, they are of burning relevance and importance today, and we need to ensure that their enormous humanitarian potential is recognized and acted upon by all." – ICRC Director of International Law and Policy, Helen Durham speaking about the role the new Commentaries can play in bringing the Conventions into the 21st century.

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First of its Kind - March 30: Join us for the Release of the First Updated Commentary on the Geneva Conventions

First of its Kind - March 30: Join us for the Release of the First Updated Commentary on the Geneva Conventions

On March 30th, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Delegation in Washington, DC invites you to join a panel discussing the release of the new Commentary to the First 1949 Geneva Convention.  This includes the much-awaited commentaries on the Common Articles One, Two and Three.

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Speech given by Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, at the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

Speech given by Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, at the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

The president of the ICRC, Peter Maurer, addressed the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 1, 2016. He drove home the importance of preventing violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law as "the best way to counter the long-term impact of protracted conflicts."

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A Reminder That Rejecting Torture is the Right Thing To Do

A Reminder That Rejecting Torture is the Right Thing To Do

The topic of torture and questions as to whether it works, whether it should be used, and whether techniques like waterboarding constitute ill treatment have started to resurface in recent days. Given the renewed rhetoric around this subject, we’ve decided to repost an opinion piece written by ICRC President, Peter Maurer, and originally published by the Huffington Post in December 2014.

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Prevention in Practice: Teaching IHL in US Legal Academia

Prevention in Practice: Teaching IHL in US Legal Academia

Today we are sharing a piece by Kate Jastram, a professor at the University of California in Berkeley.  The article is a shortened version of a piece that she and Anne Quintin wrote for the International Review's issue on Generating Respect for the Law.  Their article discusses the progress of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) integration in US legal academia and charts a course forward.

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Even Wars Must Have Limits - An Op-Ed by ICRC's Director of Operations

Even Wars Must Have Limits - An Op-Ed by ICRC's Director of Operations

The Director of Operations of The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was recently in Washington D.C. for talks with U.S. officials on the ICRC's major humanitarian concerns in 2016. During his visit he also authored an opinion piece for CNN on five resolutions that those waging war and those with influence over global security can commit to that would truly make a difference in the year ahead.

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International Review Series- Rewired Warfare: Rethinking the Law of Cyber Attack

International Review Series- Rewired Warfare: Rethinking the Law of Cyber Attack

In October, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released a new edition of the International Review of the Red Cross titled Scope of the Law in Armed Conflict. This week we are highlighting an article from this issue titled Rewired Warfare: Rethinking the Law of Cyber Attack, by Michael Schmitt.  The article discusses the applicability of international humanitarian law on cyber, particularly the interpretation of the rules governing cyber 'attacks'. 

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Autonomous Legal Reasoning? Legal and Ethical Issues in the Technologies of Conflict

Autonomous Legal Reasoning? Legal and Ethical Issues in the Technologies of Conflict

On October 23, 2015, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Temple University School of Law held an invitation-only, one day workshop to discuss how the development of autonomous systems impacts questions of international humanitarian law (IHL).  Militaries have emerged with new technologies in recent years, including cyber operations, remotely piloted vehicles, automated defensive weapons, as well as the potential future development of fully autonomous lethal weapons. All these technologies share similar characteristics, most importantly their ability to operate in the absence of direct human control.  This workshop sought to engender a cross-cutting dialogue by bringing together experts with different backgrounds.  

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Governments & Red Cross Red Crescent Aim to Tackle Immense Humanitarian Challenges

Governments & Red Cross Red Crescent Aim to Tackle Immense Humanitarian Challenges

Next week, representatives of nearly every government in the world, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, and partner organizations will gather in Geneva, Switzerland for the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. 

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International Review Series: Interview with Brigadier General Richard C. Gross

International Review Series: Interview with Brigadier General Richard C. Gross

This week we are highlighting an interview with Brigadier General Richard C. "Rich" Gross, Former US Army Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  This interview is from the Scope of the Law in Armed Conflict issue, which broadly discusses where, when and to whom International Humanitarian Law (IHL) applies. In the interview, Brigadier General Gross discusses the role that IHL plays in his then position, current trends in armed conflicts, standards of detention and more.

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Syria: Vienna talks must focus on respect for International Humanitarian Law

Syria: Vienna talks must focus on respect for International Humanitarian Law

As major powers gather in Vienna for fresh talks to try to end the conflict in Syria, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on states to intensify efforts to ease the Syrian people’s suffering by increasing respect for International Humanitarian Law.

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