News release

Belgium: Experts discuss detention in armed conflict

Brussels (ICRC) – Which are the applicable legal norms for detention in international and non-international armed conflict? What are the challenges linked to the detention or transfer between authorities of detainees during military operations abroad? These questions will be central to the discussions at the 15th Bruges Colloquium, which will take place on 16 and 17 October.

"In January 1915, two delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross left Geneva, one bound for France and the other for Germany, to visit detention camps. The ICRC's detainee-welfare activities, so central to its operations today, were launched," says François Bellon, head of the ICRC delegation to the European Union, NATO and Belgium. "ICRC delegates have since negotiated access to places of detention in over 70 countries and visit over 700,000 detainees every year. We want to explore possible solutions to the challenges we now face in these activities."

Organized by the ICRC and the College of Europe, the Bruges Colloquium will bring together experts from governments, international organizations and armed forces, along with academics from various universities, to discuss issues relating to detention in armed conflict.

The colloquium will be followed by the Flanders Fields Conference of Military Law and the Law of War, which will be held in Ypres from 12 to 15 October. From 12 October to the end of November, the ICRC and the Belgian Red Cross will organize an exhibition at the In Flanders Fields Museum, also in Ypres, on the role of the Red Cross during the Great War. These events are being held as part of the centenary of the First World War.

The ICRC and the College of Europe have jointly organized a colloquium on international humanitarian law every year since 2000 as part of their work with the European Union and NATO.

For further information, please contact:
Alexander De Jaeger, ICRC Brussels, tel: +32 286 58 70