Promotion and dissemination of international humanitarian law

Promotion and dissemination of international humanitarian law

Anastasia SIENA, Vice-President IHL National Commission


During the year 2016 and the first six months of 2017, the Italian Red Cross (ItRC) National Commission for the dissemination of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), in implementation of the pledge “Promotion and dissemination of international humanitarian law”, carried out the following activities.

A) National Level Training

The thematics addressed in all below IHL courses and trainings are the same, the main difference being the possibility to deepen specific thematics and treat them in concrete cases depending on the audience.

a. 28 (twenty-eight) IHL courses for International Operators have been organized. The courses – which saw the participation of 1’350 persons – lasted 1 week and were organized in the following locations:

  1. ItRC Arezzo branche
  2. ItRC Ciampino branche
  3. Air Force School, Viterbo – 4 sessions
  4. Base of the Military Air Force, Sigonella – 4 sessions
  5. Air Force, Pisa
  6. Air Force, Jacotenente
  7. ItRC Emilia Romagna regional branche, Bologna
  8. Deployable Air Command and Centre Control, Poggio Renatico
  9. Armed Forces, Superga
  10. Cutuli journalism master, Roma
  11. Air Forces, Gioia del Colle
  12. NATO Base, Solbiate Olona
  13. Army School, Viterbo
  14. ItRC Abano Terme branche
  15. University of Catania
  16. Air Force, Fiumicino – 2 sessions
  17. Air Force of the Army, Viterbo
  18. Air Force, Bari
  19. Air Force Academy, Pozzuoli
  20. Air Force, Ciampino
  21. “Acqui” Division of the Italian Army, S. Giorgio a Cremano

b) 1 (one) IHL Course for 24 International Operators – carried out in English – at:

  • NATO Base, Poggio Renatico.

The “IHL Course for International Operators” is aimed at staff working in international intervention abroad and aims to develop and improve their knowledge of International Humanitarian Law and its application.

After completion of the course, a certificate is released by the ItRC, the latest being recognized by the Armed Forces, Universities and the Sanremo International Humanitarian Law Institute (Sanremo IIHL).

c) 14 (fourteen) Courses for IHL Qualified Personnel (2 weeks training, 450 participants) at the following locations:

  1. Air Force School, Viterbo – 2 sessions
  2. S. Bonaventura University, Rome – 2 sessions
  3. ItRC Regional Branche of Tuscany, Florence – 2 sessions
  4. “Acqui” Division of the Italian Army, S. Giorgio a Cremano
  5. Base of the Military Air Force, Sigonella
  6. ItRC Regional Branche of Emilia Romagna, Bologna
  7. ItRC National Training Center, Marina di Massa – 2 sessions
  8. Air Force, Fiumicino
  9. Italian Armed Forces Joint Operations Center, Roma

The qualified IHL Course is part of the regulatory provision of Article 6 of the I Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1977.

d) 2 (two) national selection for Instructors of International Humanitarian Law of the ItRC, Rome

     1 (one) 36° national training for Instructors of IHL, Marina di Massa

In July 2016, 47 Volunteers were trained, in Marina di Massa ItRC National Training Center, as IHL Instructors. All of them obtained the certificate to disseminate IHL principles and rules.

Moreover, last April, more than 160 ItRC Volunteers from all over the country participated in the national selection: 45 of them were selected as participants of the “37th national course for trainers in IHL”, which will take place in the second half of July at the ItRC National Training Center in Jesolo for a 14 days training. This qualified activity for the purpose of disseminating International Humanitarian Law is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s strategies and the commitments made by the Pledges under the XXXII International Geneva Conference of 2015.

e) 2 (two) International Disaster Law courses

1 qualifying training in cooperation with IFRC, Sanremo.  Attendance of 25 partecipants coming from different countries.

1 qualifying training for trainers in IDL, Marina di Massa. Attendance of 55 partecipants.

B) Dissemination activities on national territory (regional, provincial and local) carried out internally and externally by ItRC

The dissemination of IHL on the national territory (regional, provincial and local) is normally carried out by the ItRC trainers and qualified advisers of IHL. In this regard, the IHL National Commission has played a supporting and stimulating role, including by sending educational material where required.

Since the beginning of 2016, several “Informative courses” (1 day training) providing a first inside on key notions, the fundamental principles, the Geneva Conventions and the components of the Movement and typology of conflicts were organized :

  • 15 “Informative courses” at national level for the various Armed and Police Forces commands for military and security personnel
  • 50 “Informative courses” conducted at peripheral locations of ItRC branches and others locations directed at civilian staff and ItRC volunteers.

In addition of the mentioned activities, in june 2016, in Solferino, ICRC and ItRC organized an “International Dissemination workshop” where RCRC National Societies shared best practices about the subject.

a) Refresher training for IHL Instructors to update them on new thematics or deepen the knowledge on traditional IHL thematics.

b) “IHL and Islam” conference in cooperation with Iranian Red Crescent (MOU).

In April 2016, in Verona, more than 250 IHL instructors, academy professors, armed forces members, journalists, war reporters, law students and civilians partecipated to the ItRC annual refresher training event in IHL.

C) Collaboration with the Sanremo International Humanitarian Law Institute

The ItRC, together with the ICRC, is a founding member of the Sanremo International Humanitarian Law Institute. The ItRC has been involved in the work of the General Assembly for over thirty years and is a member of the Board of the Institute.

Based on a framework agreement between the National Society and the Sanremo Institute, there is a continuous exchange of teaching staff and attendants courses organized by the two training structures.

D) Meeting of the European Legal Support Group

The meeting of this important network of experts in IHL and humanitarian affairs of the European Red Cross Societies, was organised in Rome by the ItRC on 29 february – 01 March 2016. It saw the participation of around 25 European National Societies, as well as the IFRC and the ICRC.

Among discussed topics, this meeting was also an occasion to discuss recent trends in the area of disaster law, such as the proposed checklist to be elaborated by the IFRC on national laws pertaining to disaster management, and possible forms of cooperation in this regard among RCRC National Societies and external actors such as Universities.

E) National agreements:

Several agreements were signed between the ItRC and external partners defining the terms of collaboration for the organization of IHL courses / trainings. In the period under review, agreements were made with the following institutions:

  1. Command for Army Training, Specialization and Doctrine, COMFORDOT
  2. IIHL of Sanremo
  3. Cutuli Fondation, University of Bologna, Staff Defense (for journalists and war reporters training)
  4. RomaTre University, Legal Clinic in IHL
  5. La Sapienza University, Rome
  6. University of Catania
  7. Military Air Force School, Viterbo

F) 12 (twelve) Raid Cross played for a total of 300 partecipants

Raid Cross is a role-playing simulation activity designed to help young people to explore humanitarian issues occuring in armed conflict situations, as well as the basic rules of IHL and the importance of their implementation and respect. Participants are invited to take on the roles of civilians, soldiers, prisoners, and humanitarian workers in order to experience the different challenges that arise during the simulation.