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Ethiopia: Seminar on law of war for military legal advisers

11-11-2003 News Release 03/143

From 3 to 7 November, a seminar on the law of war brought together for the first time 25 legal advisers from the various branches of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces and from the country's Ministry of Defence and Defence University. The seminar, held at the officers' club in Addis Ababa, was organized by the ICRC in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence.

At the closing ceremony, General Alamu Ayele of the National Defence Forces, said: ”The seminar has broadened and consolidated our knowledge of international humanitarian law and of the role and duties of legal advisers within the armed forces. We are very grateful to the ICRC for its continuous support and invaluable expertise in this area.” Robert Zimmerman, deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Addis Ababa, commented: " Legal advisers play a key role in planning military operations. They are in a position to promote greater compliance with the rules of armed conflict, especially those protecting people not or no longer taking part in hostilities.”


The aim of the seminar was to enhance the ability of legal advisers to assist their commanders in decision-making processes. While its focus was on the basic rules of humanitarian law and the role of legal advisers within the armed forces, the seminar also covered the applicability of the law to peace-keeping operations and the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In addition, participants examined practical cases of grave breaches of the law, such as those committed during the conflicts in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. 

ICRC personnel, including a specialized instructor based abroad, conducted the seminar. In the coming weeks and months, the ICRC will continue to assist the Defence Forces in their efforts to ensure that the law of war is fully integrated into military teaching and training in Ethiopia.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Gianni Volpin, ICRC Addis Ababa, tel.: 002511 518 366