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The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Protection of War Victims

31-08-1995 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 307

In its recent issues the International Review of the Red Cross announced the publication of a work entitled Le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge et la protection des victimes de la guerre by François Bugnion, Deputy Director of the ICRC Department of Principles, Law and Relations with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The book has already become the reference work par excellence on the International Committee of the Red Cross in that it analyses, in a combined historical and legal approach, the process whereby the international community came to entrust the Committee with tasks and areas of competence relating to the protection of war victims. It also highlights the interaction between the development of ICRC practice and that of international humanitarian law.

The book answers a whole number of questions regarding the constitution of the ICRC, its legal personality, the tasks entrusted to it and the principles which guide its work. Moreover, it gives a valuable insight into the structure, role and scope of action of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

We have selected two chapters from this work which, as Jacques Freymond, a former Vice-President of the ICRC, emphasizes in his review of the book published in this same issue (see pp. 477-480), is " important [... ] because of its contribution to the design and implementation of a humanit arian strategy " . We consider both chapters to be particularly significant because they deal with topics that are little known or perhaps even misunderstood. Below the reader will find Bugnion's analysis of a subject that has never yet been studied, namely " The composition of the International Committee of the Red Cross " .

The September-October 1995 issue of the Review will publish the chapter entitled " Red Cross Law " , which deals with the Movement's various bodies, its Statutes and its Fundamental Principles and the resolutions adopted by International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

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