The Participation of the Ambassador Dr. MounirZahran at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law’s Round Table on “Weapons and the Rule of the International Law”
The Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, the Chairman of ECFA, participated on 8th – 10th September 2016 in the 39th Annual Session of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Imperia, Italy. The list of participants included Ambassador Suad Shalabi (the National Council for Women), and a number of ambassadors accredited to Geneva, diplomats and military personnel from different countries. The United Nations’ Legal Counsel (Miguel Sarpa Soares), his deputy, the Chairman of the International Committee of the Red Cross and a judge from the International Criminal Court from Nigeria also participated.
The symposium was organized under the theme “Weapons and the rule of the International Law” and was opened by the President of the Institute, Mr. Fausto Pocar, Professor of International Law at the University of Milan, former Judge of the ICTY and the Mayor of San Remo. The word of the Secretary-General of the United Nations delivered by Soares focused on the relevant international treaties on the round table, in particular weapons of mass destruction and the Convention on the Prohibition of Conventional Weapons (CCW). Also, Ms. Christine Burley, Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) gave a presentation on the role of the ICRC in the application of international humanitarian law referring to the relevant resolutions.
The Themes of Discussion Focused on:
– Reviewing the legal status of new weapons and their lethal and destructive effects in populated areas.
– Current and future challenges, especially for the application of the unnecessary damages clause of the CCW “Unnecessary suffering” for the population and property.
– The position of the applications of international humanitarian law from the point of view of the military, with particular reference to the situation in Peru between the Peruvian army and the FARC,was developed its operations by changing the clothes of its fighters to civilian clothes and their mixing with the population.
– Reviewing the development of contemporary conflicts and the use of these weapons by non-governmental organizations, especially in the former Yugoslavia and Syria.
– Putting the use of crackers in populated areas in the context of armed conflict as a reference to the practices of “Dae’sh” in Syria and Iraq.
– The challenges posed by the use of chemical weapons and incendiary bombs, with reference to the prohibition of the use of high-speed guns by police.
– The use of submarines in disputes and electronic warfare.
– The International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in December 2015 and preparation for the next Conference in 2019.
– The implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the role of OPCW whose representative called upon countries that have not yet acceded to the treaty, especially the DPRK, Egypt, Israel and the Sudan to do that, especially after 192 countries joined the treaty.
Concerning the destruction of chemical weapons, Ambassador Zahran said that the survival of these weapons in the arsenal of the possessing countries is a violation of the provisions of the treaty which requires the elimination of stocks of those weapons 10 years after treaty’s entry into force in 1997, i.e. before the end of 2007.
Ambassador Zahran criticized one of the questions raised about encouraging NGOs to apply international humanitarian law. He explained that such responsibility lay with States parties, not non-governmental organizationswhich were supposed to be subject to the responsibility of the Governments of States parties. He also pointed out the destructive danger of continued possession of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons and stated that it violates the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular (article 2).
For its part, the representative of the Chemical Weapons Organization expressed her regret because only 70 of the States that had acceded to the Treaty issued national legislations to criminalize the use of chemical weapons and that there was a lack of concern on the part of the majority of Member States to send notifications on the application of the Treaty.
In the same context, Ambassador Mounir asked the Nigerian judge about how to review the consciences of the judges of the Tribunal from the impunity of war criminals who use weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, the most lethal and destructive weapon (supposedly a ” Not “) of the jurisdiction of the Court, since the Rome Statute does not include such weapons in the jurisdiction of the Court. There were as if they were not genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, while the treaty regime states that those crimes do not fall into statute, including the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Nuclear weapons. For his part, the Nigerian judge explained that he agrees with Ambassador Mounir from the conscience and that he was happy because the African Union considered them crimes against humanity, but this did not become a treaty text at the international level. The judge pointed out that the Kampala Protocol did not also criminalize such weapons.
Following the failure of the NPT Review Conference in 2015 and the failure of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on nuclear disarmament to be in accordance with the General Assembly session 70, there is pessimism about the chances of starting negotiations on this issue, whether in the Conference on Disarmament or beyond, as long as there is no political will on the part of the nuclear powers. Increasing the efficiency of stockpiles in those countriesis threatening the future of mankind as nuclear weapons are the most lethal weapons of mass destruction. Angela Kane, former Undersecretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, emphasized the importance of the growing number of States warning of the disastrous effects of nuclear weapons as a point of hope that a convention on the prevention of the use of nuclear weapons could be negotiated.
In this regard, the round table also addressed the issue of electronic warfare which has been raised in theory only and has not yet taken place. This type of war uses the Internet to paralyze the military capabilities of States. This possibility, if it happens, is not envisioned by States, but can happen through non-governmental organizations or intelligence agencies.
In conclusion, the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, referred to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference held in Geneva in December 2015 and stated that there were those who all edged the failure of that conference. He believed that the Conference had adopted only 10 resolutions and that there were informal consultations initiated with the delegations of the Member States in Geneva to try to remove the obstacles and that further meetings will be held in October and November 2016 to chart a road map for the good preparation of the next Conference in 2019.