IHL Now 2021

IHL Now 2021 Poster
Title:  IHL Now – A Special Online Learning Series
Date: May 31-June 4, 2021
Cost: Free
The Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa and the Canadian Red Cross are once again partnering in the creation of the special IHL NOW 2021 e-learning series that will address pressing challenges in international humanitarian law (IHL) such as the situations in Yemen, Ethiopia and the Tigray crisis, as well as environmental protection and IHL, and sexual violence in conflict. The series also features an introductory session on IHL and a careers panel.
This series of FREE courses, each 90 minutes long and offered in English and French, will take place from May 31 to June 4, 2021. Presentations will be given by leading Canadian and international scholars and experts.
Registration is now open. If you have questions, please contact Nicolas Leistenschneider (nicolas.leistenschneider@redcross.ca). Please note that Mr. Leistenschneider will not be available for questions on Thursday during the presentations. If you have questions on that day, please address them to Mr. Cheung at roy.cheung@redcross.ca
About International Humanitarian Law: International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is a set of rules seeking to limit the effects of armed conflict for humanitarian reasons. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. The complexities of modern-day conflicts combined with the plethora of information and media interest have resulted in a higher profile of difficult humanitarian issues. Knowledge of IHL is a definite asset, if not essential, for those working on or in countries affected by armed conflicts, those involved in humanitarian work or interested in working for international criminal tribunals.

Pour la version française, voir ici
For the speakers’ bios, click here
Monday, May 31st, 1:00-2:30 p.m. (EDT)
Introductory Session
Speaker: Marco Sassòli, Director, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
In this session, Marco Sassòli will explain the basics of IHL, its application, its sources and current challenges. He will cover numerous points including why the existence of an armed conflict is crucial; the distinction between civilians and combatants as well as the distinction between jus ad bellum and jus in bello. His introductory lecture will be based on examples and current practice, and will include interactive aspects such as polls and Q&A.  The 90-minute session will be dense with information, and will bring you up to speed on the framework of IHL or will serve as an excellent refresher for the week ahead!

See recording of this session below


Monday, May 31st, 3:00-4:00 p.m. (EDT)
Careers in international humanitarian law
Chris Harland, Deputy and Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross

Samit D’Cunha, Protection Delegate, International Committee of the Red Cross

Elise Groulx, Human Rights Lawyer  
In this session our expert speakers, Samit D’Cunha, Chris Harland and Elise Groulx will talk about their experiences in the humanitarian legal field. Mr. D’Cunha will talk about his experiences with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as well as his experiences in academia and broader civil society. These thoughtful folks will share ideas, inspiration and food for thought for why we chose this area of the law and as to why we stick with it!

Tuesday, June 1st, 1:00-2:30 p.m. (EDT)
The conflicts of Yemen
Omar Mekky, Regional Legal Coordinator for Middle East and North Africa, International Committee of the Red Cross
Rasha Jarhum, Co-founder and Director, Peace Track Initiative
The devastating conflict in Yemen has been ongoing since 2015. It is a complex situation involving both non-state armed groups and national armies with grave humanitarian consequences. Our expert speakers will provide us with insight into the humanitarian situation on the ground, the political complexity and the legal issues that must be resolved to help improve compliance with IHL and mitigate the suffering of the Yemeni population.

Wednesday, June 2nd, 1:00-2:30 p.m. (EDT)
Protecting the environment: IHL as a solution.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
Aung Thiri Shwesin, Environmental Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University,
Iryna Nikolaieva, Consultant, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine
Destroying the environment as a tactic during times of armed conflict is prohibited under international humanitarian law. The destruction of the environment also has long term impact on civilians by destroying agriculture, living areas, and basics to civilian survival such as health. Our international experts will speak to their many experiences in Palestine, Myanmar and the Ukraine. Through their presentations we will explore what the barriers are to protecting the environment in the conflicts they are experts on, and how, with the use of IHL, they can be overcome.

Thursday, June 3rd, 1:00-2:30 p.m. (EDT)
Ethiopia and the Tigray crisis
Daniel Mekonnen, Human rights lawyer
Lea Mehari, Founder, Addis Ababa University International Humanitarian Law Clinic

The current fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia erupted at the end of 2020. A complex and often neglected crisis, its regional, legal and humanitarian ramifications make it a more complex issue than meets the unfamiliar eye. Our expert speakers will provide insight into the current conflict in Tigray and the legal and humanitarian consequences through the lens of international humanitarian law.

Friday, June 4th, 1:00-2:30 p.m. (EDT)
Responding to sexual violence in conflict
Valerie Oosterveld, Professor, Faculty of Law, Western University
Margot Wallström, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden (2014-2019)
Fati Ibrahim Makintami, Nigerian Lawyer
Conflict related sexual violence is a “widespread, systematic and invisible practice” according to the Supreme Court of Colombia. To spread knowledge about it and hence remedy its invisibility, this incredible panel - a gathering of three experts - will provide us with solutions and challenges from situations around the world, in practical, academic and political fora. They will allow us to see what impact CRSV can have on victims and survivors, and what role IHL can play to help prevent, respond and mitigate CRSV.