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Posted May 28, 2008

Law School Hosts Seminar on International Humanitarian Law and Armed Conflict

Hurwitz

The Law School is hosting a seminar May 28-30 on applying international humanitarian law to armed conflicts.

Sponsored by the the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Law School’s Human Rights Program, the event is open to members of the U.S. policy community, practitioners and other professionals whose work has an impact on the development or application of international humanitarian law.

International humanitarian law, also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict, has as its cornerstones the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions. 

“Knowledge of this body of law has become an invaluable asset for the country’s decision-makers and opinion-shapers,” said seminar organizer Deena Hurwitz, director of the Law School's Human Rights Program.

Seminar Agenda

All events are in the Law School's Purcell Reading Room (Slaughter Hall) unless otherwise noted.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28
11:00-11:30 a.m. Opening Remarks and Introductions
David Martin, Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law, UVA Law School; TJAGLCS Dean Colonel Gregory Block; ICRC Representative TBA
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Introduction to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Its Application
Aleardo Ferreti, ICRC; Lt. Col. Ian Corey TJAGLCS; and Doug Ford, UVA Law School faculty

Participants will receive an overview of how and where IHL first came into being, how it has developed and what its sources and basic rules are. Participants will also learn to distinguish between different types of conflicts and which rules of IHL apply to each situation, as well as explore the points of complementarity between IHL and Human Rights Law.
1:30-2:30 p.m. Lunch
2:30-4:00 p.m. Means and Methods of Warfare
Maj. Craig Burton, TJAGLCS faculty

Participants will learn the principles of proportionality, distinction, military necessity and unnecessary suffering, and how those principles impact military planning and battlefield targeting operations.
4:00-4:15 p.m. Break
4:15-5:45 p.m. Rules of Engagement
Maj. John Rawcliffe TJAGLCS

This unclassified presentation will orient students to the major principles of U.S. armed forces rules of engagement (ROE).  Participants will learn how these rules are trained and integrated into targeting operations, as well as explore how they are applied in real-world contexts.  Discussions will explore the fit between IHL and current principles of ROE. 
6:00-7:00 p.m. Reception, John C. Jeffries Jr. Garden (a.k.a. Spies Garden circular garden — or if raining, Caplin Pavilion)
THURSDAY, MAY 29
8:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30-10:15 a.m. Protected Persons
Philip Sundel, ICRC  

Participants will learn about the various groups of people covered by rules in treaty and/or customary humanitarian law and what specific protections benefit them when, in conflict, they are in the power of the enemy.
10:15–10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Detention Issues
Jens Mehler, ICRC  

This session will address the basis for the deprivation of liberty under IHL, as well as the protections provided by this body of law to captured combatants and civilians who are interned/detained by an adverse party during an armed conflict. A discussion will follow on how the ICRC applies the law in its detention work. 
12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00–3:45 p.m. (Breaks follow each session) Challenges in IHL  (roughly 45 minutes for each topic)

1) ICRC operational activities: Aleardo Ferreti, ICRC
2) Direct Participation in Hostilities: Richard Jackson, Special Assistant for the Army TJAG for LOW Matters
3) Private Military and Security Contractors (PMSCs): Gabor Rona, International Legal Director, Human Rights First
3:45-4:00 p.m. Break
4:00-6:30 p.m. Film and Discussion: “Taxi to the Darkside,” Room WB121 Discussion led by David Graham, Executive Director, TJAGLCS
FRIDAY, MAY 30
8:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30-10:00 a.m. Rule of Law in Contingency/Stability Operations –  
Maj. Al Broadbent and Maj. Sean McMahon, 82nd Airborne Brigade JAG; Department of Justice Rule of Law Coordinator, and a Civil Society Rule of Law representative

The U.S. military faces an increasing tempo of contingency/ stability operations, combined with the need for a greater operational partnership with civilian components of the U.S. government, for instance, through Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). This session will take the IHL framework explored earlier in the seminar and demonstrate how it applies in these contemporary contexts. 
10:00–10:15 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. IHL and the US Government: Detainee Litigation in U.S. Federal Courts and Potential Issues for Congress and the Executive -
Prof. Robert Chesney, Wake Forest University School of Law

This session will provide participants with an overview of detainee litigation since the start of the global war on terrorism, with emphasis on cases currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit. In addition, potential legislative and policy issues that could result from the rulings in pending cases will be explored.
12:00-12:30 p.m. Wrap-up and Evaluations
12:30-2:00 p.m. Closing Luncheon and Guest Speaker, Caplin Pavilion

Deborah Pearlstein, Program in Law and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, “The United States and the Law of War: Thinking About the Road Ahead”