Wednesday, 8 March 2017

XIth Seminar for Legal Advisors of the Armed Forces

The International Law Centre at the Swedish Defence University will in cooperation with the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War organize the XIth International Seminar for Legal Advisors to the Armed Forces, from 28 to 31 March 2017 in Stockholm.

The central theme of this Seminar is "Contemporary Challenges for Legal Advisers in International Military Operations" This central theme is divided into four sub-themes:

1. Use of Force in Contemporary Military Operations
2. Gender and Military Operations
3. Practical Issues for Legal Advisers in Military Operations
4. New Military Technologies and the Law

These themes will be elaborated upon during lectures in plenary and during working sessions, chaired by distinguished scholars and senior officers. Highly experienced speakers will address case law and specific operational situations.

In line with the successful seminars in Budapest (2002), Strasbourg (2005), Windhoek (2008), Riga (2010), Muenster (2013) and Galway (2014), this Seminar is intended for military legal advisors holding the ranks of captain to colonel and civilian experts with comparable civilian rank. Assuming a general knowledge of the law of armed conflict, the Seminar will further train the participants in various aspects of its practical implementation. The language during the plenary sessions of the Seminar will be English.


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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Guest lecture on Peacekeeping since Rwanda: Reflections of a Legal Officer’s Experience 22 years on - 5 December

The International Law Centre is pleased to announce that Dr Bruce Oswald, Associate Professor and Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law in the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne, will hold a lecture on the topic of Peacekeeping since Rwanda: Reflections of a Legal Officer’s Experience 22 years on. The lecture will be held 5 December at 15:00-16:30 in Lejonsköldska.

In 1996 Bruce Oswald wrote an article: ‘Peacekeeping in Rwanda – A Lawyer’s Experience’ which was published in the Australian Law Journal. That article was based on his experiences as an Army legal adviser to the Australian Defence Force Contingent serving in Rwanda in 1994. What has changed in UN peacekeeping law and practice 22 years later? Bruce Oswald will briefly discuss among other things: the protection of civilians by peacekeepers; the rule of law industry; the accountability of peacekeepers; and the role of military peacekeepers in post-conflict state building.  He will also speak about some of the major challenges for UN peacekeeping. His primary focus will be on the extent to which law influences the policy and practice of UN peacekeeping today, drawing on his research and practice since deploying to Rwanda.

Bruce "Ossie" Oswald is an Associate Professor and Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law in the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne. His interests in law and practice are in the areas of international humanitarian law, peace operations, state building, accountability and responsibility, and the application of human rights law to military operations. More specifically, his interests are in examining the law and practice surrounding the protection of civilians, the taking and handling of detainees during military operations, and militias undertaking law and order functions. Ossie has served in the Australian Regular Army as a legal officer. He has seen operational service in Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has provided legal advice and held staff appointments as a legal officer at tactical, operational and strategic levels. During his service in Australia he provided legal advice to the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Headquarters Australian Theatre, Strategic Command and Directorate of Operations and International Law. Ossie continues to serve in the Army Reserves as a legal officer. For his service as the Legal Officer for the Australian Contingent serving in Rwanda, Ossie was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC). In 1997 Ossie worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Former Yugoslavia. Ossie was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow (October 2012 - June 2013) at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington DC, USA.

The event will be held in English at Försvarshögskolan, Drottning Kristnas Väg 37 in Lejonsköldska at 15:00-16:30. If you are interested in attending, email:
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Thursday, 10 November 2016

New Publication: Harrison Dinniss / Kleffner, Soldier 2.0: Military Human Enhancement and International Law, 92 ILS (2016) 432-482

Heather Harrison Dinniss and Jann Kleffner have just publisdhed an article in the US Naval War College's international law journal 'International Law Studies' on international legal aspects of military human enhancement, ie technologies that can endow humans with physical or mental abilities that go beyond the statistically normal level of functioning. The use of these human enhancement technologies by the military, for instance in the spheres of biotechnology, cybernetics and prosthetics, raise a number of questions under the international legal frameworks governing military technology, namely the law of armed conflict and human rights law. The article examines these frameworks with a focus on weapons law, the law pertaining to the detention of and by “enhanced individuals,” the human rights of those individuals and their responsibility for the actions they take while under the influence of enhancements.
The article can be accessed at:
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Monday, 31 October 2016

Seminar on the protection of the environment during armed conflicts – 8 November

The International Law Centre is holding an event on the protection of the environment during armed conflicts with Dr. Britta Sjöstedt at Försvarshögskolan on Tuesday 8 November 14:00-15:30

Dr. Britta Sjöstedt is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden, researching and teaching public international law, in particular, the use of force, international humanitarian law and transitional justice. She is currently appointed director of the course public international law at the Swedish Law Programme. Britta defended her PhD thesis in May 2016, which focused on questions on how international humanitarian law and international environmental law protect the environment during armed conflict and how to reconcile these two branches of international law. She has published several articles and book chapters related to her research topic and been involved in the work of the International Law Commission on the topic Protection of the Environment in relation to Armed Conflict. Britta was rewarded with the prestigious Australian Endeavour Research Scholarship in 2014 to conduct research at the University of New South Wales, Australia. In 2015, she was admitted to the League of European Research Universities (LERU) visiting programme and within this programme she made a research visit at Leiden Law School (May, 2015). She is also a contributor to the international law blog ‘Intlawgirrls’.

The seminar will focus on how environmental treaties, also referred to as multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), can enhance the protection of the environment during armed conflicts. The topic covers both international and non-international armed conflicts, as well as the immediate aftermath of armed conflicts.

In warfare, environmental harm can lawfully take place if it serves to attain successful military operations. This is because the law of armed conflict is considered to apply as the lex specialis in wartime. Dr. Sjöstedt suggests that instead of determining which rule prevails, a ‘reconciliatory approach’ can be undertaken if two rules are normatively incoherent and apply to the same subject matter at the same time. The approach opens up the possibility for harmonisation of the obligations of MEAs and the law of armed conflict, and opts for a complementary application of both legal frameworks in order to safeguard the environment.

The event will be held in English at Försvarshögskolan, Drottning Kristnas Väg 37 in room N203A+B. If you are interested in attending, email:
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Thursday, 16 June 2016

New report from Syrian Commission of Inquiry on crimes against the Yazidis

The UN's Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic published  a report today documenting crimes committed against the Yazidis by ISIS in Syria. The crimes documented include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The report is based on 45 interviews with survivors, religious leaders, smugglers, activists, lawyers, medical personnel, and journalists, and corroborating documentary material.

The full report is available here. A press release from the Commission of Inquiry is available here.

/ Sally
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Thursday, 2 June 2016

New publication on teaching gender in the military

The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfPC) have published a new handbook on teaching gender in military operations. Sally Longworth drafted Chapter 2 on the international legal framework and history of the Security Council's women, peace and security agenda. The handbook is available online here.

/ Sally
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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Conference The International Law of Military Operations: Mapping the Field, Exeter 21-23 June 2016

The International Society for Military Law and the Law of War and Exeter Law School cordially invite you to participate in a conference on ‘The International Law of Military Operations’ taking place on 21-23 June 2016 in Exeter.
The aim of the event is to deepen our understanding of the international law of military operations from a comparative and practical perspective.
Military deployments in the territory of other States are subject to a diverse range of rules under international law. In recent years, it has become increasingly common to refer to these rules as ‘operations law’ or the ‘international law of military operations’. Despite the growing popularity of the term, its meaning and utility remain uncertain.
The conference will map the field by focusing on the scope and concept of operations law, its current challenges and future training needs. The event will offer a unique opportunity for legal advisors and others working in the area to engage with world-leading experts from the UK and abroad to debate some of the most pressing legal challenges facing military operations.
Confirmed speakers include Professors Mike Schmitt, Terry Gill, Jann Kleffner and Major-General Blaise Cathcart.

Further information is available at:

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