Humanizing the laws of war – the Red Cross and the development of International Humanitarian Law

29 June 2017 18:00 - 19:30
Humanizing the laws of war – the Red Cross and the development of International Humanitarian Law

As part of its conference cycle on Generating respect for the law, the ICRC and the German Permanent Mission to the United Nations will convene a panel discussion on 29 June at the Humanitarium to launch the book: "Humanizing the Laws of War – the Red Cross and the Development of International Humanitarian Law" edited by Robin Geiß, Andreas Zimmermann and Stefanie Haumer. The event will discuss the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's role as a gentle modernizer of international humanitarian law (IHL) ever since its very creation and will, in particular, critically assess the ICRC's unique role.

The event will be followed by a cocktail reception hosted by the German Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

The event will be video recorded and posted on this page.

Background

150 years after the ICRC and the first National Red Cross Societies were founded an international conference considered and analyzed the crucial role the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has played in the development of international humanitarian law. The book "Humanizing the Laws of War – the Red Cross and the Development of International Humanitarian Law" published by Cambridge University Press in June 2017 compiles the various contributions to that conference.

The book therefore contains cross-cutting contributions as to the impact of both, National Red Cross/ Red Crescent Societies, and the ICRC on the development, consolidation and codification of modern international humanitarian law. It also describes and analyses whether this role has changed over the years, and what challenges the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement currently faces in this respect.

The panel debate will address in particular a couple of crucial questions, namely:

  • To what extent have the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the ICRC been a driving force in the development of IHL?
  • Where did the ICRC play a decisive, unequivocally accepted role in codifying IHL, and where was its role more controversial?
  • What are the contemporary challenges in fostering the role of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement with regard to the future development of IHL?
  • Are we currently witnessing increasing efforts by States to emphasize a more exclusive role of States in standard setting for IHL?

Opening remarks

  • Dr. Ulrich Seidenberger, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN in Geneva

Introductory remarks and moderation

  • Andreas Zimmermann, Professor of International and European Law at the University of Potsdam and Director of the Potsdam Centre of Human Rights

Panelists

  • Robin Geiß, Professor of International Law and Security, University of Glasgow
  • Carsten Staur, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN in Geneva
  • Dr. Heike Spieker, Deputy Director of the International Services & National Relief Division, German Red Cross
  • Dr. Jean-Marie Henckaerts, Head of the ICRC project to update the Commentaries on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977