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The role of the ICRC in preventing armed conflict :its possibilities and limitations

31-12-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 844, by Jean-Luc Blondel

 Abstract of the article "   Rôle du CICR en matière de prévention des conflits armés : possibilités d'action et limites  "  


The ICRC’s role and ability to help prevent the outbreak of armed conflict have always been a matter for concern and consideration. As early as 1863, in the debate which led to the foundation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Gustave Moynier drew attention to the link between preventive action and assistance for victims of armed conflict. The notion of prevention has become rather broad, and the article spells out the different meanings given to it by scholars and practitioners. In addition, a wide range of practical methods and techniques have been worked out.The ICRC’s role and possibilities will doubtless always be rather limited. However, since its Avenir project of 1997 to determine its future course of action, much thought has gone into identifying just what the ICRC can do to help prevent the outbreak of armed conflict. Moreover, with its humanitarian activities in armed conflict the ICRC may contribute to ending hostilities and reaching a settlement, and thereby prevent a resumption of conflict.