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Award of the Paul Reuter Prize

23-05-2003 News Release 03/35

Geneva (ICRC) – The winner of the 2003 Paul Reuter Prize is Ruth Abril Stoffels, professor of international law and international relations at the law and social sciences faculty of Cardenal Herrera University, Valencia.


  The 2003 Paul Reuter Prize presented to Professor Ruth Abril Stoffels by Professor Daniel Thürer
Ref. CER-E-00069

The Prize recognizes key publications on international humanitarian law, and Professor " Abril Stoffels obtained the award for her thesis entitled La asistencia humanitaria en los conflictos armados: configuración jurídica, principios rectores y mecanismos de garantía " [humanitarian aid in armed conflict: legal position, guidelines and implementation mechanisms ] .

The jury selected this study, which has been published with the support of the Spanish Red Cross, because it examines not only all concepts and problems of humanitarian aid during armed conflict, but also the practical aspects.

Professor Abril Stoffels starts by discussing the legal status of humanitarian assistance, its definition and its theoretical objectives, thereby setting up a clear frame of reference, particularly with respect to the debate regarding aid versus protection. She analyses the legal regime governing assistance within international law, including international humanitarian law, together with the duties of States and the rights of victims. The author moves on to consider implementation mechanisms and the relat ed legal procedures, including so-called “intervention on humanitarian grounds”. This is followed by discussion of the definitions and scope of humanitarian aid in the light of humanitarian principles, particularly those of impartiality, proportionality and neutrality. Professor Abril Stoffels ends with some 20 conclusions, which could easily serve as a basic handbook in themselves!

This document is both a tool for promoting the rules on humanitarian aid and a reference work. It will be of practical value to all governmental and non-governmental bodies involved in this area, to personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and to the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The Paul Reuter Fund was set up in 1983 through a donation made to the ICRC by the late Paul Reuter, Honorary Professor at the University of Paris, member of the Institute of International Law and former Chairman of the UN International Law Commission. The Fund's purpose is twofold: to encourage the publication of works on international humanitarian law or other initiatives in that field and to finance the Paul Reuter Prize. The Prize is worth 5,000 Swiss francs and is awarded every three years. This year, the prize was presented to Professor Ruth Abril Stoffels by Professor Daniel Thürer, Vice-Chairman of the Paul Reuter Fund Committee, at a ceremony on 22 May 2003 attended by members of the UN International Law Commission.

 Further information:  

 Renée Bretton, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++ 41 22 730 26 71