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Gambia: new agreement to include international humanitarian law in military training

15-09-2009 News Release 09/183

Banjul (ICRC) – The general staff of the Gambian armed forces and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) signed a memorandum of understanding today in Banjul that aims to make the study of international humanitarian law part of the country's military training programme.

The signing ceremony was chaired by Brigadier General Yakuba Drammeh, chief of Army staff of the Gambian armed forces, in the presence of military and civilian authorities and Gianni Volpin, the deputy head of the ICRC regional delegation in Dakar.

International humanitarian law is a set of rules that aim to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting those not, or no longer, taking part in hostilities and by restricting the choice of methods or means of warfare.

As a State party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 – the basic treaties of international humanitarian law – Gambia has committed itself to respect and ensure respect for the provisions of this body of law, including the obligation to disseminate its principles and rules as widely as possible, in time of peace as in time of war, and in particular to include the study of international humanitarian law in programmes of military instruction.

For over 10 years the ICRC has been supporting the Gambian authorities'efforts to spread knowledge of international humanitarian law. The memorandum of understanding will result in the law being included in military training and exercises and in tactical manuals.

The ICRC is the guardian of the Geneva Conventions, which it has a mandate to promote. Through its Dakar regional delegation, which covers Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, it stands ready, now as always, to support the Gambian armed forces in their efforts to incorporate the study of international humanitarian law into their training programmes.

  For further information, please contact:
  Mame Ibrahima Tounkara, ICRC Dakar, tel: +221 77 529 71 44
  Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Dakar, tel: +221 77 529 71 45
  Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 3224