Africa November 4, 2014
GENEVA, Switzerland, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — An important meeting of experts from Arab States on international humanitarian law is starting in Algiers today under the joint patronage of Algeria’s justice minister and keeper of the seals and of Christine Beerli, vice-president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The meeting brings together government experts from Algeria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco and other Arab countries along with representatives of the Arab League and experts from the ICRC. Among the topics of discussion will be compliance with international humanitarian law within the region.
“The changing nature of contemporary armed conflict and of the means and methods of warfare highlights the constantly shifting challenges relating to the applicability of international humanitarian law,” said Ms Beerli. “That’s why the discussions that will take place at this meeting are extraordinarily significant.”
International humanitarian law is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. The rules are set out in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, to which Algeria has been party since 1960 and 1989, respectively.
“The promotion and teaching of international humanitarian law are growing in importance in the region as 16 national committees for the implementation of international humanitarian law and two regional institutes for training in that field of law – one for members of the judiciary, the other for diplomats – have been set up in Arab countries,” said Dr Chérif Atlam, a staff member of the ICRC’s Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law with responsibility for the countries of the Middle East and northern Africa.
The meeting, organized by Algeria’s national committee for the implementation of international humanitarian law, the ICRC and the Arab League, is the 10th such event to be take place since 2001. It is being held as part of the observance of the 150th anniversary of the signing in 1864 of the initial Geneva Convention and of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Algerian revolution.