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Bruges Colloquium on International Humanitarian Law (17-18 October 2013) on Vulnerabilities in Armed Conflicts

August 29, 2013

 

This year, the Bruges Colloquium, in its 14th edition, will focus on selected issues of “vulnerabilities” in times of armed conflicts. It will take place on 17-18 October 2013. Apart from the appeal of the lovely city of Bruges (with its pretty old town, good food and beer), this yearly IHL-conference, organised by the College of Europe and the ICRC, is known for its interesting topics and high level discussions.

The proceedings of previous years can be accessed (for free) online. Last year dealt with the scope of application of IHL. Other previous topics relevant for the readers of this blog include: the Relevance of IHL to Non-State Actors, Improving compliance with IHL, and Armed Conflicts and Parties to Armed Conflicts under IHL: Confronting Legal Categories to Contemporary Realities.

The 2013 Colloquium’s sessions will address 1) vulnerabilities in situations of detention and 2) hostilities, 3) sexual violence, 4) children in armed conflicts, and end with a panel discussion on cross-border humanitarian aid. The programme lists a number of Bruges’s usual suspects, such as Marco Sassoli, Francoise Hampson and Noam Lubell, as well as some new additions, together making for a strong and interesting line-up.

As a regular participant of this event, I can strongly recommend the Colloquium to anyone interested in IHL and related fields!

 

Practical information is available here.

 

The provisional programme is as follows:

DAY 1: Thursday, 17 October

Welcome addresses

 

SESSION ONE:

VULNERABILITIES IN DETENTION – SELECTED ISSUES

Chair person: Elzbieta Mikos-Skuza, University of Warsaw

Protection under International Humanitarian Law: the need to strengthen the law applicable in non-international armed conflicts.

Ramin Mahnad, ICRC Legal Division

Protection under Human Rights Law: a useful complement? Opportunities and limits

Noam Lubell, University of Essex (tbc)

Can non-state actors ensure adequate protection to vulnerable groups in detention?

Sandesh Sivakumaran, University of Nottingham (tbc)

 

SESSION TWO:

VULNERABILITIES IN HOSTILITIES – THE EXAMPLE OF HEALTH CARE

Chair person: Frederik Harhoff, Judge, ICTY (tbc)

Attacks against wounded, sick, shipwrecked and medical personnel; as well as the challenges posed by “follow up strikes”

Marco Sassòli, University of Geneva

Military entries into medical facilities: the ISAF experience and lessons learned

Michael C. Jordan, United States Department of Defence, Office of General Counsel (tbc)

“Acts harmful to the enemy” versus “direct participation in hostilities” or when does medical and religious personnel lose protection against attacks?

Robin Geiss, University of Potsdam (tbc)

 

SESSION THREE:

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Chair person: Mykola Gnatovskyy, University of Kiev

Sexual violence as an absolute prohibition under IHL and HRL

Speaker: TBC

Criminalization and prosecution of sexual violence: accomplishments and challenges ahead

Theo Rycroft, United Kingdom (Mission Geneva) (tbc)

Towards a “right to abortion” for women impregnated by rape? A legal and ethical issue

Gloria Gaggioli, ICRC Legal Division

 

SESSION FOUR:

RECRUITMENT AND OTHER ASSOCIATION OF CHILDREN WITH ARMED FORCES OR ARMED GROUPS

Chair person: Paul Berman, Director, Council of the EU Legal Service

Protection of children against recruitment and participation in hostilities – IHL and HRL as complementary legal frameworks

Françoise Hampson, University of Essex (tbc)

The Paris Principles: Towards increased implementation

Saudamini Siegrist, UNICEF (tbc)

The Lubanga case – A Critical Analysis

Tomaso Falchetta, Child Soldiers International (tbc)

 

PANEL DISCUSSION: CROSS-BORDER HUMANITARIAN AID

Moderator: Manuel Bessler, Vice Director, Delegate for humanitarian aid and head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) (tbc)

Panelists:

Horst Fischer Leiden University (tbc)

Françoise Bouchet Saulnier Médecins sans Frontières

Hansjoerg Strohmeyer UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) (tbc)

 

CONCLUDING REMARKS AND CLOSURE

Ms. Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the ICRC

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