On November 21-23, Russian-Armenian University hosted the 12th International Conference for Young Researchers on International Humanitarian Law. This year, the Conference focused on “70 Years of Geneva Conventions: Time to Reflect on Achievements and Plan for Future Developments”.
Head of RAU Department of International and European Law Lilit Yeremyan, Ph.D., welcomed the Conference guests and participants. She also expressed sincere gratitude to the partner organizer ICRC Delegation in Armenia.
Reflecting on the many years of experience being part of the Conference, she said, “The Conference takes place for the 12th time, almost every year it is devoted to a cornerstone event in the history of International Humanitarian Law, and every time we have a cause for celebration - this year it's the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions. What better way to mark the evolution of the International Humanitarian Law.”
RAU Vice-Rector for Science Prof. Pargev Avetisyan in his welcoming speech highlighted the significance of the celebrated document, “Hosting this Conference for the 12th time, we have to say with confidence that it not only has proved its relevance over the years, but also has set great prospects for the future. The name “70 Years of Geneva Conventions: Time to Reflect on Achievements and Plan for Future Developments” is of special relevance; in a way, we can sum up the results, achievements and experience of the 70 years of existence of this remarkable document, the Geneva Conventions. Also, and I am saying this with sorrow, we are going to be needing the Geneva Conventions in the times to come.”
The 12th IHL Conference embraced the following sessions: Reducing Suffering During Armed Conflict: The Interface Between Religion and IHL; Humanitarian and Legal Challenges of the Response to the Migration and Displacement Caused by Armed Conflicts; Controversial Aspects of Legal Regulation of Methods of Warfare in Armed Conflicts; Transitional Justice – What’s Next?; Autonomous Weapon Systems – New Development, New Challenges; Humanitarian Challenges Posed by Urban Warfare?; 20 Years of The Mineban Convention: Challenges and Way Forward; Addressing the Human Cost of Detention in Armed Conflicts: Strengthening IHL Protection.
Zara Amatuni Communications and Prevention Manager at ICRC Delegation in Armenia in her turn highlighted, “We have gathered here for the 12th International Conference for Young Researchers on International Humanitarian Law to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions. There may not be a topic closer to the heart of the ICRC than tonight's discussion. Our mandate to protect and alleviate suffering in wartime effectively stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949, even if our history dates back further.”
Among the notable experts, participating in the IHL conference were Bill Boothby, former Deputy Director of Legal Services for the Royal Air Force, member of the International Group of Experts of the Tallinn Manual, Alfons Vanheusden, Policy and Legal Advisor at the Cabinet of the Belgian Minister of Security and the Interior and Assistant Secretary-General of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War (based in Brussels, Belgium), Andrey Kozik, Regional Legal Coordinator for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the ICRC Regional Delegation for the Russian Federation, Belarus and Moldova and Michael J. Strauss, Ph.D. in international relations and diplomacy, Professor of International Relations at the Centre d'Etudes Diplomatiqueset Stratégiques in Paris.
The Conference gathered participants from Armenia, Belgium, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Peru, Poland, Russia and USA. The Conference has established a platform for the participants to meet international experts in person, share experience, to meet young scholars from different countries and create a professional network.
Since 2007, the International Conference for Young Researchers on International Humanitarian Law brings young researchers to discuss issues related to human rights violation, conflict resolution and international humanitarian and criminal law, military implications and the prospects of IHL development.
Photos: M.G. Sarkisov.