XXXVIth Round Table on Current Issues of International Humanitarian Law: ‘Respecting IHL: Challenges and Responses’, Sanremo, 5-7 September 2013

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

The International Institute of Humanitarian Law and International Committee of the Red Cross has put together an excellent programme of speakers and topics for their thirty sixth Round Table on Current Issues of International Humanitarian Law. The Round Table will take place in Sanremo between 5-7th September and will address the topic ‘Respecting IHL: Challenges and Responses’. 

The themes to be discussed include the observance of IHL in recent conflicts, the role of training and dissemination in working towards respect for IHL, the challenges of IHL compliance and the lessons that can be learnt about compliance from other areas of law (see below for the draft programme). To register for the roundtable, follow the link here







Wednesday, 4 September, International Congress Centre, Grand Hotel Londra

16.00 – 18.45 Registration of Participants

18.00 – 19.00 Welcome Cocktail

Thursday, 5 September, Opera Theatre, Casino of the Municipality of Sanremo

09.00 – 10.00 Registration of Participants

10.00 – 12.00 Opening Statements and Addresses

– Professor Fausto Pocar, President, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Sanremo

– Mr. Maurizio Zoccarato, Mayor of Sanremo

– Dr. Emma Bonino, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rome (TBC)

– Dr. Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

– Dr. Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel, United Nations, New York

– Mr. Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director, Human Rights Watch, New York

12.30 – 13.30 Aperitif offered by the Casino of Sanremo (by invitation only)

Thursday, 5 September, International Congress Centre, Grand Hotel Londra

14.30 – 16.30 Session 1: Observance of IHL in Recent Conflicts

Chair: Ambassador Benoît D’aboville, Member of the Council of IIHL, Paris

– Issues Concerning the Observance of IHL in the Afghan Conflict, Mr. Ján Kubiš, Head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Kabul

– The Observance of IHL in Recent Conflicts. The Case of Syria, Ms Carla Del Ponte, Former Chief Prosecutor, ICTY and ICTR – Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (TBC)

– The Experience of the Conflict in Mali, Mr. Antoine Gerard, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA Liaison Office, Brussels

– The Arab Spring and the Observance of IHL in Recent Conflicts, Dr. Mohammed Bin Ghanim Al-Ali Almaadid, Chairman of the Qatar Red Crescent, Doha

16.30 – 18.30 Session 2: Working Towards Respect for IHL, through Training and Dissemination

Chair: Dr. Nils Melzer, Senior Programme Advisor and Senior Fellow, Emerging Security Challenges Programme, Geneva Centre for Security Policy

– IHL Dissemination: The Experience of the ICRC, Mr. Vincent Bernard, Head Of Unit I, Forum for the Integration and Promotion of the Law – Editor–In-Chief, International Review of the Red Cross, Geneva

– IHL in Humanitarian Operations, Mr. Bruno Jochum, Director of Operations, Swiss Section of Médecins Sans Frontières, Geneva

– National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Dissemination of IHL, Dr. Helen Durham, Director, IHL Strategy, Research and Planning, Australian Red Cross, Melbourne

– Engaging with Non-State Armed Groups: Lessons Learned, Ms Elisabeth Decrey Warner, President, Geneva Call, Geneva

– Challenges in Training and Dissemination. The Work of the IIHL, Col. Ben Klappe, Director, Administrative Law Department, Command Support Centre, Ministry of Defence of The Netherlands, Utrecht

19.00 – 20.00 Grand Hotel Royal, Reception (by invitation only)

Friday, 6 September, International Congress Centre, Grand Hotel Londra

09:30 – 13:00 Session 3: The Challenge of IHL Compliance

Chair: Professor Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Vice-President of the IIHL – Fellow of The Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, London

– The Specificities Of Compliance with IHL: Reality and the Law, Ms Cordula Droege, Head of Unit, Legal Adviser of the Operations, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

– IHL Mechanisms in Armed Conflict: Where is the Problem? Professor Marco Sassoli, Member of the IIHL – University Of Geneva

– Fact-Finding: Practice and Challenges, Dr. Stephen Wilkinson, Legal Advisor, International Humanitarian Law Resource Centre, Diakonia Regional Middle East Office, Tel-Aviv

– The NGOs Contribution to IHL Compliance, Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson, Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Kabul

15:00 – 17:00 Session 4: Lessons for IHL Compliance from other Systems of International Law

Chair: Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, Thailand, Commissioner, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arab Republic

– Lessons from Global Human Rights Law And Mechanisms, Professor Françoise Hampson, UK, Member of the IIHL – Essex University, Colchester

– Lessons from Regional Human Rights Law and Mechanisms

  • Inter-American System: Judge Rafael Nieto Navia, Colombia, Former Judge, ICTY – Former President, Inter-American Court Of Human Rights, San José, Costa Rica
  • African System: (TBC)
  • European System: Professor Jean-Paul Costa, France, Former President of the European Court Of Human Rights – President of the Institut International des Droits de l’Homme, Strasbourg

– Lessons on Compliance with IHL Drawn from Human Rights Monitoring System: A View from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Annyssa Bellal, Rules of Law and Democracy Section, OHCHR, Geneva

17:30 – 18:30 Session 5: The Swiss-ICRC Initiative on Strengthening Compliance with IHL

– Ambassador Nicolas Lang, Switzerland, Ambassador at Large for International Humanitarian Law, Ministry For Foreign Affairs, Bern

– Dr. Philip Spoerri, Director of Law and Cooperation, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Villa Ormond

20.00 – 20.45 Concert (by invitation only)

20.45 – 22.30 Buffet Dinner (by invitation only)

Saturday, 7 September, International Congress Centre, Grand Hotel Londra

09.30 –11:00 Session 6: IHL Implementation after the End of an Armed Conflict

Chair: Professor Edoardo Greppi, Vice-President of the IIHL – Professor of International Law, Department of Law, University of Torino

– IHL Obligations that Survive an Armed Conflict: The Legal Framework, Professor Gabriella Venturini, Italy, Member of the IIHL – University of Milan

– Moving Towards Peace: Challenges in Implementing on-going IHL Norms, Mr. Federico Andreu-Guzmán, Deputy Director for Litigation and Legal Protection, Colombian Commission of Jurists, Bogotá

– Improving Post-Armed Conflict Implementation of IHL, Mr. Refik Hodzic, Director of Communications, International Center For Transitional Justice, New York (TBC)

11.10 – 11.30 Closing Remarks

– Professor Fausto Pocar, President, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Sanremo

– Dr. Philip Spoerri, Director of Law and Cooperation, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

– Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, Director, Directorate of International Public Law, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Bern

Co-ordinators of the Round Table

– Dr. Baldwin de Vidts, Vice-President, International Institute Of Humanitarian Law, Sanremo

– Ms Jelena Pejic, Legal Advisor, Legal Division, International Committee Of The Red Cross, Geneva

– Professor Michel Veuthey, Vice-President, International Institute Of Humanitarian Law, Sanremo

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