XXXVII Round Table on current issues of international humanitarian law – “Conduct of hostilities: the practice, the law and the future”, Sanremo, 4-6 September 2014

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.

Sanremo programme 2014If you’ve never attended the Sanremo Roundtable on international humanitarian law, make this year your first time. You won’t regret it. Located on the Mediterranean coast, Sanremo is the most fantastic location to enjoy three intensive days of international humanitarian law discussions with all the top experts in the field.

The draft programme for this year has just been released and is reproduced below. For further practical information on the roundtable (accommodation, fees etcs), click here. For the registration form, click here.



(as of 23 MAY, 2014)


Wednesday, 3rd September, 2014


International Congress Centre, Grand Hotel Londra


16.00 – 18.45 Registration of participants

18.00 – 19.00 Welcome cocktail


Thursday, 4th September, 2014


International Congress Centre, Grand Hotel Londra


O9.00 – 10.00 Registration of participants

10.00 – 11.00 Opening session


Opening Remarks

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


Welcome Addresses


– Mayor of Sanremo

– Professor Roberta PINOTTI, Italian Minister of Defence, Rome (to be confirmed)

– Dr. Federica MOGHERINI, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rome (to be confirmed)


Keynote Address

– Dr. Peter MAURER, President, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva (to be confirmed)



11.00-12.00 Setting the Scene

Chair: Ambassador Soad SHALABY, International Co-operation Advisor, National Council for Women, Cairo – Council Member, IIHL

– “The Importance of the Law in Theatre”


Colonel (ret.) Sherrod Lewis BUMGARDNER, Legal Adviser, Allied Command Transformation Staff Element Europe, Norfolk (to be confirmed)

– “Evolution of the Law Governing the Conduct of Hostilities”


Professor Djamchid MOMTAZ, Professor of Public International Law, Tehran University, Iran – Member, IIHL



14.00-16.00 Operational Planning and Targeting Decision Processes


Chair: Professor Elizabeth WILMSHURST CMG, Vice-President, IIHL, Sanremo;

Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, London; former Deputy Legal Adviser at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom


– “Planning and Decision-making: Differences in Processes for Pre-planned Targets, Targets of Opportunity and Troops in Contact Situations – National Perspectives”


Colonel Michael JORDAN, Associate General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel (International Affairs), US Department of Defence, Washington

Colonel Bala Ashom ISANDU, Commander, First Division Intelligence Group, Nigeria Armed Forces, Abuja


– “Political Directives and ROE: the Impact of Political Guidance on Operational Decisions”


Colonel Kirby ABBOTT, Office of the Judge Advocate General, Ottawa


– “Operational Planning and Decision-making Process – The Challenges of Interoperability, [both with regard to NATO-type Operations, and with regard to Operations in Partnership with Local Forces]”


Colonel Ben F. KLAPPE, Director, Administrative Law Department, Ministry of Defence, The Hague


– “Taking Decisions in Hostilities Situations – Best Training Practices”


Mr. Raoul FORSTER, Military Armed Forces Adviser, Division of Integration and Promotion of the Law, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva




Coffee break

16.00 – 16.30



16.30 – 17.30: The Notion of Military Objectives

Chair: Ambassador Dr. Marie JACOBSSON, Principal Legal Adviser on International Law, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Stockholm; Member of the UN International

Law Commission – Council Member, IIHL

– “Current Challenges with regard to the Notion of Military Objective – Legal and Operational Perspectives”


Professor Michael SCHMITT, US Naval War College, Newport; University of Exeter – Member, IIHL (to be confirmed)

M. Jean-Baptiste JEANGÈNE VILMER, Chargé de Mission for Transversal and Security Affairs, Centre for Analyses, Prevention and Strategies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris – Member, IIHL



17.30 – 18.00


Friday, 5th September, 2014




08.30 – 09.30: Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks

Chair: Professor Wolff HEINTSCHEL VON HEINEGG, Professor of International Law, Professor of International Law, Viadrina European University, Frankfurt/Oder – Council Member, IIHL


– “How to Assess Proportionality”


Brigadier General (ret.) Ken WATKIN, former Judge Advocate General, Canadian Armed Forces, Ottawa


– “The Use of Explosive Weapons in Densely Populated Areas and the Prohibition of Indiscriminate Attacks”


Mr. Laurent GISEL, Legal Adviser, Legal Division, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva





09.30 – 11.15: Precautions in Attacks

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


– “The Obligation to Give Effective Warnings: Lessons Learned from Recent Conflicts”


Colonel (ret.) Adv. Ms Pnina SHARVIT BARUCH, Senior Research Fellow, Head of the Program on Law and National Security, Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv


– “Precautions with regard to Indirect Fire in Populated Areas”


Colonel Omari BEGOIDZE, Ministry of Defence, Tbilisi (to be confirmed)


– “Precautions in Attacks and Remotely Controlled Weapon Systems”


Professor Gabriella VENTURINI, University of Milan – Member, IIHL


– “Standard of ‘Zero Expectation’ of Civilian Casualties and its Implementation in Practice”


Professor Chris PENNY, Associate Professor of International Law, Carleton University, Ottawa; Legal Officer, Primary Reserve, Office of the JAG, Canadian Armed Forces



Coffee break

11.15- 11.45




11.45 – 13.00: Capture or Kill?

Chair: Admiral Rinaldo VERI, President of CASD “Centro Alti Studi della Difesa”, Rome (to be confirmed)


– “Does a Least Harmful Means Rule Govern the Use of Force under IHL?”


Professor Ryan GOODMAN, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

– “Capture rather than Kill in Armed Conflict as a Matter of Policy; When, Why and How?”


Colonel Darren STEWART, Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Legal Services, Ministry of Defence, London – Member, IIHL


– “Can Human Rights Requirements Limit the Right to Use Force against Legitimate Targets under IHL?”


Professor Françoise HAMPSON, Professor of Law, School of Law, University of Essex, Colchester – Member, IIHL





14.30 – 15.30: Precautions against the effect of attacks

Chair: General (ret.) Vincenzo CAMPORINI, Vice-President, IAI “Istituto Affari Internazionali”, Rome


– “The Feasibility to take Precautions against the Effects of Attacks in Urban Warfare”


Colonel Juan Carlos GOMEZ RAMIREZ, Colombian Air Force, Bogotá


– “When Locating Military Objectives within Populated Areas becomes Using Human Shields”


Professor Robin GEISS, Professor of International Law and Security, School of Law, University of Glasgow



Coffee break




16.00 – 17.00: Conduct of hostilities in non-international armed conflicts – specific challenges

Chair: Judge Hisashi OWADA, former President, Judge, International Court of Justice,

The Hague; President, “Institut de Droit International”, Grez-Doiceau – Council Member, IIHL (to be confirmed)


– “Challenges Faced by Non-State Armed Groups to Respect the Law Governing the Conduct of Hostilities”


Professor Yoram DINSTEIN (Israel), Emeritus Professor, University of Tel Aviv – President of the United Nations Association of Israel – Council Member, IIHL


Professor Marco SASSOLI, Professor of International Law, University of Geneva – Member, IIHL





17.00 – 18.00: Conduct of hostilities specificities in various domains

Chair: Ambassador Stefano STEFANINI, former Permanent Representative of Italy to NATO – Member, IIHL (to be confirmed)


– “Naval Warfare”


Professor Wolff HEINTSCHEL VON HEINEGG, Professor of International Law, Viadrina European University, Frankfurt/Oder – Council Member, IIHL

– “Air Warfare”


Lt. Colonel Arnaud PENENT D’IZARN, Colombian Air Forces; Director, Presidential Programme for Colombian Space Development



Saturday, 6th September, 2014




08.30-11.30: Developments in Warfare

Chair: Ambassador Benoît D’ABOVILLE, Vice-President of “Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique”, Paris – former Permanent Representative of France to NATO – Council Member, IIHL

– “Cyber Warfare”


Dr. Anton STRELTSOV, Deputy Director, Information Security Institute of Moscow State University


– “Technological Developments: Where do we stand? What might the future look like?”


Professor Christopher COKER, Professor of International Relations, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics (to be confirmed)


– “Requirement of Human Judgment in Targeting decision-making? Legal Aspects”


Ms Kathleen LAWAND, Head of Arms Unit, Legal Division, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

– “Automated and Autonomous Weapons: What Military Utility in which Operational Scenario?”


Dr. William BOOTHBY, Air Commodore (ret.), formerly Deputy Director of Legal Services, UK Royal Air Force, London; Associate Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy


– “Ethical and Societal Perspectives on the Development of Autonomous Weapons”


Dr. Peter ASARO, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, School of Media Studies, The New School for Public Engagement, New York (to be confirmed)

Closing session


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

– International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva

Co-ordinators of the Round Table:

Mr. Laurent GISEL, Legal Adviser, Legal Division, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva


Council Member, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Sanremo

Professor Elizabeth WILMSHURST CMG

Vice-President, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Sanremo

(Visited 45 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: