Implementation of International Humanitarian Law

Diwaka Prakash, Assistant Director, International Legal Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Diwaka.prakash@dfat.gov.au
Stephanie Ierino, Principal Legal Officer, Office of International Law, Attorney General’s Department, Stephanie.Ierino@ag.gov.au


The Australian Government and Australian Red Cross (ARC) worked together on the implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL), reflecting the pledge action plan as follows:

  • ARC & International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met with the Australian Government (Attorney-General’s Department) to discuss proposed amendments to the Criminal Code which could impact targeting decisions and on matters relating to the protection of principled humanitarian action in changes to citizenship legislation;
  • A Conference on protection of cultural property in armed conflict and a closed-door roundtable with Government was convened in Adelaide in December 2016 to discuss issues relating to accession to the First and Second Protocols to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;
  • The National IHL committee has convened five meetings in 2016/17, which has facilitated an understanding of key issues;
  • Preparatory work for National IHL committee meetings provides a regular opportunity to identify and update contact points on key issues.

ARC continues to monitor the use of the red cross emblem in Australia in conjunction with the Australian Government’s Department of Defence, and in 2016 developed and launched a new app for protecting the emblem as part of an ongoing emblem awareness campaign, with financial support from the Australian Government (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). The Department of Defence has dealt with approximately 40 potential breaches of the emblem since May 2015.