Rwanda: First training course for military legal advisers in international humanitarian law
Thursday, July 10, 2008
From 7 to 11 July 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) are running a training course in Kigali for legal advisers in international humanitarian law within the RDF and other State structures involved in the national application or implementation of humanitarian law.
The main bodies concerned are the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and the national police force.
The aim of the course, which is the first of its kind to be organized by the ICRC in Rwanda, is to strengthen the capacities of the authorities and the RDF and to establish within them a permanent body of people who are qualified and able to assume the role of legal adviser in humanitarian law. The ceremony was hosted jointly by the military chief of staff and the head of the ICRC delegation in Rwanda, Tobias Epprecht.
In his inaugural speech, Tobias Epprecht said, “I hope that this training course will help to make the principles of humanitarian law an integral part of all aspects of military operations, and particularly of training and support measures for officers involved in planning and conducting actual operations.”
Pursuant to Article 82 of Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, legal advisers in humanitarian law have two main tasks – to advise military commanders on the correct application of humanitarian law and to give them guidance on teaching the rules set forth in those legal instruments to the armed forces under their command.
The training course is being taught by ICRC and RDF experts and is part of a long-term ICRC commitment to provide support for the Rwandan authorities in the process of adhering to the treaties of international humanitarian law. It is intended to strengthen their capacities to implement those instruments.