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June 2017

Department of International Law attends regional meeting of National Committees on International Humanitarian Law

regional meeting of National Committees on International Humanitarian Law

As part of the events held to mark the fortieth anniversary of the 1977 Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions and the twentieth anniversary of the 1997 Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Government of Costa Rica organized a regional meeting attended by the National Committees for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law. The Department of International Law (Secretariat for Legal Affairs) of the OAS was also invited.

At the meeting the DIL gave a presentation on the regional treaties governing responsible weapons transfers in the Hemisphere, in particular the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Material (CIFTA). It described the treaty’s purpose and the specific obligations it contains as regards establishment of offenses, firearms marking, and export licenses or authorizations. The DIL also touched on specific aspects of cooperation among states and invited those that have not yet done so to identify the national authority that acts as their point of contact. Finally, the DIL provided an explanation of the treaty’s follow-up mechanism, the Consultative Committee, and its role in drafting model laws.

There was also a session devoted to the most recent mandates adopted by the OAS General Assembly in light of the interest in mandates related to the topics under consideration at the meeting and bearing in mind the new format of resolutions passed in recent years by the General Assembly.

Finally, the DIL described its activities in the area of promotion of international humanitarian law with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) under the aegis of General Assembly mandates.

• Special meetings are periodically organized in the OAS Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs that provide OAS member states with an opportunity for dialogue with international humanitarian law experts, including scholars and ICRC and government officials.

• The Course on International Humanitarian Law in the Americas, also held on a periodic basis, is designed for permanent representatives, staff of the OAS, and the general public, with the object of "promoting knowledge of and respect for international humanitarian law and related regional instruments, including measures for their effective implementation.”

• The Course on International Law, organized annually by the DIL and the Inter-American Juridical Committee in Rio de Janeiro for lawyers, law professors, and diplomats, includes classes on international humanitarian law with the support of ICRC officials.

For further information on this matter, please contact the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the OAS +1 202 370 0743. 

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