Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO)

Commemorating 70 Years of the Geneva Conventions


27 September 2019
Venue: AALCO
29 C Rizal Marg Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols form the bedrock of IHL, which regulates armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects to reduce human suffering. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Geneva Conventions, which have been universally ratified across the world. AALCO and the ICRC Regional Delegation will commemorate this 70-year milestone and recall the spirit of the Conventions to uphold human dignity in the midst of conflict by drawing on experiences of Asian and African States to exchange on key issues of humanitarian concern. Bringing together all 47 AALCO member States, and the ICRC, this workshop offers a unique opportunity to engage with a non-western plurilateral grouping of States in a discourse on improving respect for IHL.
The objective of the workshop is to
(1) Commemorate the 70th anniversary of the GCs and sensitize the audience to the continued importance and relevance of these instruments
(2) Share legal and practical measures to improve the implementation of existing IHL obligations 
This forum would provide an opportunity to engage with a wide range of interlocutors including diplomats, key government ministries, defence attaches, UN agencies as well as Red Cross and Red Crescent colleagues in New Delhi. The forum provides an opportunity for States to renew their commitment to protect those affected by armed conflict in light of the GC70 anniversary.  
8:45 - 9:00 AM
9:00 - 9:30 AM
Welcome Address
Secretary General, AALCO
The Geneva Conventions today -  perspectives from Asia and Africa
Head of the Regional Delegation, ICRC New Delhi
ICRC Mandate and role in relation to the Geneva Conventions
Current and emerging IHL challenges
9:30 – 11:15 AM
Panel Discussion I: Legal and Practical Measures to Improve IHL Implementation
Session Objective: The objective of this session is to focus on domestic implementation which is fundamental to ensuring respect for IHL. The mere existence of the law is not sufficient to prevent and address violations, it must be implemented on the ground. On this 70th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, it is useful to recall those practices of Asian and African States that have contributed to better implementation to protect the victims of armed conflict.
Possible Guiding Questions:
           How has IHL implementation been strengthened through domestic legal frameworks and practical measures?
          What steps have been taken to integrate IHL into military training and planning?
          What is the contribution of National IHL Societies or other similar bodies in implementing IHL?
           How has the judiciary in your country contributed to overseeing IHL implementation?
Moderator: State (TBC)
Panel: ICRC
India and other States (TBC)
Useful Reading:
Other documentation on the National Implementation of IHL
11:15 – 11:30 AM
Tea Break
11:30 – 12:45
Panel Discussion II: Contemporary IHL Challenges - Counterterrorism, IHL and Principled Humanitarian Action
Session Objective: In recent years many States have resorted to stronger counter-terrorism measures by tightening counter-terrorism legal frameworks.
This session will clarify prevailing misconceptions surrounding the relationship between the legal frameworks governing counterterrorism and IHL and the need to ensure that counter-terrorism measures do not restrain or otherwise adversely impact principled humanitarian action in armed conflict in keeping with IHL norms. This could result from counter-terrorism laws criminalizing any form of support to individuals designated as terrorist by impeding humanitarian action such as medical assistance to wounded and sick fighters, visits and material assistance to detainees, or relief operations that meet the basic needs of civilians in areas controlled by armed groups designated as terrorist organizations. Some recent developments at the international level make it necessary for counter-terrorism measures to comply with IHL Rules – these include UNSC Resolution 2462 (2019) on combating the financing of terrorism and the UNGA resolution on the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy of June 2018.
Possible Guiding Questions:
          When does IHL apply to States in the fight against terrorism and to non-state armed groups designated as ‘terrorist’?
           How can States ensure that counterterror measures respect the integrity of IHL and preserve the imperative of humanitarian action?
          What steps are needed to carve out a comprehensive humanitarian exemption under domestic law in line with UNSC Resolution 2462 and IHL rules? What are the other measures that can be adopted at the domestic level to harmonize approaches, so that security imperatives do not impede the delivery of impartial humanitarian action?
Moderator: State (TBC)
Panel: ICRC
And other States
Useful Reading:
12:45 - 1.00 PM
1:00 – 2:00 PM


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