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The International Criminal Law blog

HPCRP Syria Web Seminar

29 February 2012 by Administrator


On 15 March 2012, Harvard University will host a live web seminar as part of its Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research Programme. The seminar, “Legal and Policy Challenges of Protecting Civilians in Syria”, will be broadcast in a number of different timezones. Please register here.


From the event’s webpage: “Amidst UN Security Council gridlock over taking action on Syria, the international community has begun seeking alternate routes to address the current humanitarian crisis. One set of options entails establishing a limited truce or a humanitarian corridor to provide much needed assistance to the population. Other options involve creating “safe areas” or “no-kill zones,” which would be more or less militarized. Additionally, the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic recently released a report concluding that Syrian authorities at the highest level, as well as opposition forces, have committed gross and systematic human rights violations that may amount to crimes against humanity.”


“This situation tests the international community’s ability and will to operationalize its sense of collective responsibility. International Humanitarian Law (IHL), under Common Article 1 to the four Geneva Conventions, recognizes states’ collective responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians in armed conflict. As the Conventions detail, this responsibility entails a set of measures to prevent, mitigate, and prohibit grave breaches of IHL, also known as war crimes. More recently, states have agreed at the UN General Assembly to expand this collective responsibility to cover other massive abuses of human rights, genocide, and crimes against humanity in situations other than armed conflict. But in times of crisis, the terms of engagement for activating this collective responsibility have become topics of intense debates at the UN Security Council. At what point do massive abuses of human rights constitute crimes against humanity or genocide? Ultimately, whose role is it to decide? How should the international community intervene in these dramatic circumstances? How can international actors address the root causes and long-term consequences of such crises?”


Please see here for further information.







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