For the record: Voices from the conference List of speakers

International humanitarian law: protecting people in armed conflict

While recent years have seen many violations of IHL and its capacity to protect today’s victims has been questioned, IHL continues to govern behaviour in armed conflicts, protecting victims and restricting the way hostilities are conducted.
2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which are universally ratified. The 33rd International Conference presents an opportune moment for the members of the Conference to reaffirm their commitment to IHL and to work towards its full application and implementation, especially at the national level.

– Related draft resolution:
Bringing IHL home: A road map for better national implementation of international humanitarian law
Background document

This Commission will take place on the first day of the Conference. It will consist of two main plenaries (opening and closing) and the following five thematic spotlight sessions:

  • 1. Influencing behaviour to enhance respect for IHL

    This session will expose some of the latest initiatives aimed at understanding sources of influence on behavior, how these can be utilized and understood, and how we can measure their effectiveness in promoting respect for IHL.
    The Roots of Restraint in War, ICRC, 2018
  • 2. IHL: different people, different impacts

    This session seeks to demonstrate that while the text of IHL rules may be neutral, the application of these rules could still be experienced in different ways by different women, men, girls and boys. It also aims to consider what this means for States in terms of how they apply IHL.
    • ICRC Pledge: Expert Meeting on Impacts of IHL on Different Women, Men, Boys and Girls
    • Handout: Spotlighting IHL’s Different Impacts on Different People
  • 3. Urban warfare

    The overarching aim of this session is to highlight the need to address the causes and consequences of urban warfare. It seeks to raise awareness of the direct and indirect humanitarian consequences of urban warfare and provide an overview of the key causes of civilian harm.
    • International Humanitarian Law and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts (33IC/19/XX)
  • 4. IHL and new technologies

    This session will seek to build awareness among the conference participants about the range of legal, ethical, societal and policy challenges posed by new technologies of warfare. It also aims to identify key concepts that can help States and other conference participants address these technologies in ways that reduce potential human suffering and ensure compliance with and respect for the rules and principles of IHL.
    International Humanitarian Law and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts (33IC/19/XX)
  • 5. Voluntary reporting and sharing of good practices

    This session aims to share examples, inspiration, practical support and tools to help States start or improve their voluntary reporting on IHL obligations and encourage more voluntary reporting.
    Implementing International Humanitarian Law: from law to action, ICRC, 2016 (available in English only)
    National Committees and Similar Entities on International Humanitarian Law: Guidelines for Success, ICRC, 2019 (available in English only)