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Belarus: regional seminar on implementing international humanitarian law

10-11-2010 News Release 10/211

Minsk (ICRC) – A three-day regional seminar on the implementation of international humanitarian law – the third of its kind – opens today in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The opening ceremony will be officiated by Viktor G. Golovanov, the justice minister of Belarus and chairman of the country's Commission for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law under the Council of Ministers.

"This event takes place right after the Universal Meeting of National Committees for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law, also the third of its kind, held in Geneva last month," said Philip Spoerri, the director for international law and cooperation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). "The present seminar offers an excellent opportunity for the participants to look into issues specifically relevant to the region in a concrete and practical manner."

The seminar is also intended to provide a forum for dialogue, for taking stock of domestic implementation measures and for an exchange of views and best practices.

"In recent years, the States of the region have achieved significant results in ratifying major instruments of international humanitarian law," said Maria Teresa Dutli, the ICRC regional legal adviser for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. "The main challenge now is to ensure their effective implementation at the national level, especially in specific areas such as national legislation on missing persons."

Co-organized by the Belarusian justice ministry and the ICRC regional delegation for the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, the regional seminar has brought together representatives of the foreign, defence, justice and culture ministries of various Eastern European and Central Asian countries. Representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Community of Independent States and of the Collective Security Treaty Organization are also attending the seminar. The participants will discuss various subjects relating to the suppression of violations of international humanitarian law, missing persons and internally displaced people, and the protection of cultural property in situations of armed conflict.

The ICRC, which has been working in Eastern Europe and Central Asia since the early 1990s, supports States in the region in their efforts to implement international humanitarian law and other bodies of law at the national level.

For further information, please contact:
Yuriy Shafarenko, ICRC Moscow, tel: +7 495 6265426 or +7 903 545 35 34