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Singapore: Military officers from Asia Pacific to discuss law of naval warfare

06-05-2014 News Release 14/72

Singapore (ICRC) – In cooperation with the Singapore Armed Forces, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a workshop this week on the law of armed conflict at sea. The four-day workshop – the first such event organized by the ICRC in the Asia Pacific – brings together 33 senior naval officers from 12 countries across the region.

A range of operational issues relating to the law of naval warfare, including the use of force during armed conflicts at sea, will be discussed. The workshop will provide an opportunity for officers to share information and to discuss recent developments, issues and challenges relevant to the region while also strengthening their operational and legal knowledge.

According to Larry Maybee, the ICRC's delegate to the armed and security forces for South-East Asia and the Pacific, the law of the sea and maritime security issues are important in the Asia Pacific region, on several levels: "The topics to be discussed in this workshop will have significant practical relevance, given that naval forces from the region are routinely involved in a range of maritime operations, including anti-piracy, resource protection, border security and disaster relief."

It is important for all naval forces to train their personnel in the rules applicable to armed conflicts at sea and in the legal frameworks and rules governing the use of force applicable to other types of naval operations. Workshops of this kind provide a platform for naval officers from around the region to exchange ideas and enter into dialogue on maritime security and other issues of mutual interest. "The ICRC is very pleased to be cooperating with the Singapore Armed Forces on this regional workshop, which will undoubtedly benefit from their experience in maritime operations, within the region and beyond," said Mr Maybee.

Also speaking at the workshop will be legal experts Professor David Letts from the Australian National University and Professor Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg from the Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany.

The ICRC, a recognized authority in the field of the law of armed conflict (also known as International Humanitarian Law), works with armed forces and others to develop awareness of the law and provides technical assistance for incorporation of the law into domestic legislation and military doctrine.

For further information, please contact:
Jacqueline Fernandez, ICRC Kuala Lumpur, tel: +603 2084 1808 or +60 12389 5326