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SWIRMO 2008 - Senior Workshop on International Rules Governing Military Operations

21-07-2008 Event

Geneva and Stans, Switzerland, 02 - 14 November 2008
Following the success of the Senior Workshop on International Rules Governing Military Operations (SWIRMO) in August 2007, the ICRC has decided to make the workshop an annual event to be held one year in Switzerland and the following year in another country. The SWIRMO 2008 will again take in some 60 officers from around the world to explore principles and problems related to the law of armed conflict for two weeks.

Event Info

Where: Geneva

  Opening session speech by Mr Jakob Kellenberger, President of the ICRC, 3 November

  Online forum - only for registered workshop participants


The workshop activities will be divided between instruction in Les Vernets Barracks, Geneva for the first week and the Swiss army training centre at Stans (near Lucern) for the second week where the focus will be on integrating rules into military doctrine and operating procedures.


©ICRC/T. Gassmann    
SWIRMO 2007    
     The first Senior Workshop on International Rules Governing Military Operations was devised to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the two Additional Protocols (1977) to the Geneva Conventions (1949) and the 100th anniversary of the Hague Convention IV, 1907. The SWIRMO was organised and held in Geneva in cooperation with the Swiss Armed Forces in August 2007.  

  Fifty-six senior officers drawn from all over the world with operational, legal or training backgrounds and experience attended this first two-week workshop. The SWIRMO was conducted in five classes held in three languages. It was led by class leaders, all of whom were serving officers, with a broad experience of training the law of armed conflict. In the first week, the workshop focussed on identifying the legal situations and the applicable rules; and, in the second, examined how better to integrate the law into current military operations and training. The methodology throughout the workshop was a short presentation on a given topic followed by a scenario based exercise and discussion. A field day with the Swiss Armed Forces brought together aspects of the workshop in a more practical way.   


  This first workshop proved a most successful forum from which to demonstrate the importance and relevance of the law of armed conflict and applicable human rights law as the necessary legal framework for the conduct of military operations undertaken in a range of different situations. Additionally, the workshop's focus helped to reinforce the need to have all the legal principles and rules well integrated into military doctrine, education and training as a solid basis for any operations in the field. The international mix of participants, the methodology of lectures, classroom exercises and discussions, along with the practical demonstrations by the Swiss Armed Forces, allowed the participants to share and learn from each other's experiences and greatly contributed to the SWIRMO's overall success.   

 The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Armed Forces look forward to welcoming all participants to Switzerland for this event.