Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Conference: Humanity’s Common Heritage: The 2016 ICRC Commentary on the First Geneva Convention

On September 23, 2016, the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law will hold a conference on "Humanity’s Common Heritage: The 2016 ICRC Commentary on the First Geneva Convention." Here's the idea:

Soon after World War II states convened in Switzerland, home of the International Committee of the Red Cross, to adopt the four treaties that today form the core of international humanitarian law. These Geneva Conventions of 1949, coupled with three later-adopted Additional Protocols, aim to regulate the conduct of armed conflict – in particular, to protect from harm civilians and other persons who are not taking part in the conflict.

Under the editorship of noted jurist Jean Pictet, the ICRC published commentaries elaborating on these texts: from 1952 to 1960, commentaries on the Geneva Conventions, and in 1987, commentaries on the first two Additional Protocols. They remain a resource for political leaders and policymakers, lawyers, professors, and judges, and, not least, practitioners of armed conflict. When the passage of time made clear the need to revisit these commentaries, the ICRC began updating the documents under the leadership of Dr. Jean-Marie Henckaerts, ICRC Legal Adviser and an alumnus of the University of Georgia School of Law. The first product of this effort – the 2016 Commentary on Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field – is now online, and soon will appear in print.

In recognition of this milestone, the Georgia Law community will host a day-long conference on the 2016 Commentary and its role in the development, promotion, and implementation of contemporary international humanitarian law. The conference will begin with a public plenary, featuring a keynote address by Dr. Henckaerts as well as a panel of experts who will discuss cutting-edge questions about the waging of war. During afternoon closed sessions, these and other experts will continue this conversation, and also examine issues posed by the ongoing drafting of additional commentary updates.