The Senior Workshop on International Rules governing Military Operations (SWIRMO) is co-hosted by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and will run until November 4th.
The workshop was officially opened by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in charge of Defence, Hon Aden Duale who was joined by Lt-Gen J M Mwangi, Vice Chief, KDF, Martin Schuepp, ICRC’s Director of Operations and Dr. Ahmed Idris Secretary General, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS).
“We are gathered here in a period marked by shifting alliances, growing geopolitical tensions and armed conflicts, all presenting potential humanitarian crises. The current situation reinforces the essence and relevance of IHL in preserving our common humanity,” Kenya’s Cabinet Defense Secretary Duale said.
In his remarks, ICRC’s Martin Schuepp compared IHL to a compass preserving the core of our common humanity in the midst of war.
“Respecting IHL is fundamental to minimize human suffering, civilian losses, and damage to property. It is also crucial for civilians to have access to essential goods and services they depend upon,” Martin noted.
He also highlighted ICRC’s work with states and military in developing and reaffirming the law through means such as providing training to support the integration of law into domestic legal frameworks.
On the domestic implementation of IHL, Dr. Ahmed Idris, KRCS Secretary General highlighted the unique legal relationship National Societies have with their governments to ensure that IHL is disseminated and understood in the country as well as the protection of the Red Cross, Red Crescent emblem.
The meeting will focus on current issues such as urban warfare, rapid advances in science and technology and what this means for methods of warfare particularly in the conduct of hostilities, partnered military operations and the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
Since 2015, ICRC has urged States to establish internationally agreed limits on autonomous weapon systems to ensure civilian protection, compliance with international humanitarian law, and ethical acceptability. Warring parties must avoid the use of autonomous weapon systems like explosive weapons with a wide impact area in populated areas, and rigorously apply the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law which, albeit unable to prevent armed conflicts, strive to mitigate the suffering endured.
“Each new conflict presents new ways in which belligerents and civilians use technologies. New developments and rapid adoption of digital technologies give rise to numerous humanitarian, legal and ethical dilemmas. However it must be remembered that the established principles and rules of IHL apply to all forms of warfare and to all kinds of weapons, be they new or old, digital or kinetic.” Concluded Martin Schuepp.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).