Georgia Law to host international humanitarian law conference


UGA law school to host international humanitarian law conference Emphasis will be on the Red Cross 2016 commentary on the Geneva Convention

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia School of Law will host a conference titled “Humanity’s Common Heritage” focusing on the International Committee of the Red Cross’ 2016 Commentary on the First Geneva Convention. It will be held Sept. 23 in the school’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom.

During the daylong event, there will be a public plenary that will include a keynote address by Jean-Marie Henckaerts, legal adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as expert panel discussions. Afternoon programing will consist of closed workshop sessions.

“The Geneva Conventions and the three later-adopted Additional Protocols form the core of international humanitarian law, and generations of soldiers, leaders, scholars and advocates have looked to the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Commentaries for guidance,” said Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen, faculty adviser for the conference. “As we all grapple with the challenges of contemporary warfare, the updated Commentaries will be a focal point for legal and policy debates. We are excited for the opportunity to discuss the updated Commentaries and to hear from some of the world’s most important experts on the law of armed conflict.”

The Geneva Conventions are four treaties that were adopted in 1949 in Switzerland – the home of the ICRC – which along with three Additional Protocols aim to regulate the conduct of armed conflict. Under the editorship of noted jurist Jean Pictet, the ICRC published commentaries elaborating on these texts: from 1952 to 1960, commentaries on the Geneva Conventions, and in 1987, commentaries on the first two Additional Protocols. They remain a resource for political leaders and policymakers, lawyers, professors and judges, and, not least, practitioners of the law of armed conflict. When the passage of time made clear the need to revisit these commentaries, the ICRC began updating the documents under the leadership of Henckaerts. The first product of this effort – the 2016 Commentary on Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field – is now online at https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/ihl/full/GCI-commentaryand soon will appear in print.

The day’s conference will focus on the 2016 commentary and its role in the development, promotion and implementation of contemporary international humanitarian law. Beginning at 9:15 a.m., Henckaerts, a 1990 LL.M. alumnus of Georgia Law, will deliver a keynote address on the new commentary. Thereafter a group of leading academic and legal professionals including professors, former members of the U.S. Department of Defense and Blaise Cathcart, the Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces, will participate in a panel discussion on cutting-edge questions about the waging of war before continuing the conversation in closed afternoon sessions.

Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law are sponsoring this event. For more information, please see http://www.law.uga.edu/GJICL2016.

UGA School of Law Consistently regarded as one of the nation’s top public law schools, Georgia Law was established in 1859. Its accomplished faculty includes authors of some of the country’s leading legal scholarship. The school offers three degrees—the Juris Doctor, the Master of Laws and the Master in the Study of Law—and is home to the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Georgia Law is proud of its long tradition of providing first-rate legal training for future leaders who will serve state and nation in bot