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Niger: Military officers learn about international humanitarian law

01-02-2001 News Release 01/04

In cooperation with the Niger armed forces'General Staff, the ICRC gave presentations on international humanitarian law in the military zones of Niamey, Agadez, and Zinder from 15 to 23 January 2001. These were attended by the 90 officers of the zones'military command.

The sessions were opened in Niamey by the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, and in Agadez and Zinder by the regional commanders. In parallel, the ICRC presented the army Chief of Staff with an initial 4,000 copies of the " soldier's handbook " , with the national colours of Niger on the covers, to be distributed to the rank and file by the officers in attendance.

The General Staff declared themselves in favour of a national programme to promote humanitarian law. They also proposed that instructors be trained in cooperation with the ICRC, and that humanitarian law be included in the programmes of the officer-training school and the armed-forces instruction centres.

The ICRC presentations relaunched the promotion of international humanitarian law in the Niger army, where it had been suspended for nearly two years following a coup d'état .