2016

APCML/ ICRC Operations Law Workshop

Melbourne Law School | 7–11 March 2016

The APCML and ICRC hosted an Operations Law for Legal Advisers Workshop from 7–11 March 2016. The Workshop focused on legal issues relevant to military legal advisers providing operations law advice. The topics covered included the role of the legal adviser in planning and conduct of military operations, the law of naval and air warfare, the law of targeting, weapons law, the application of human rights during armed conflict, undertaking investigations in military operations, the legal status and treatment of PoWs and detainees, children in armed conflict, and legal issues arising from coalition operations. Legal advisers from 10 nations attended the course, and presentations were given by military and civilian practitioners and academics. The participants agreed that the course was a great success with many stating that they would like to see a similar course being conducted in their own countries.

Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law & Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute 2016

IHL Roundtable – Challenges in International Humanitarian Law: Perspectives from International Organisations

George Washington Law School, U.S.A |1 April 2016

An invitation only event at George Washington Law School, scheduled during the ASIL (American Society for International Law) annual conference/meeting. This is the third year the workshop has been held and in 2016 it was chaired by Associate Professor Bruce Oswald.

Panel speakers:
Mr Steven Hill, has served as the Legal Adviser to the NATO Secretary General and Director of the NATO Office of Affairs since 2014. He took up these duties after serving as Counselor for Legal Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. Before that he was Head of the Legal Unit at the International Civilian Office in Kosovo and served in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State. He has also been Visiting Professor of Law at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China. He graduated from Yale Law School and Harvard College.

Ms Katarina Grenfell, is a Legal Officer in the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs at United Nations Headquarters in New York. She graduated from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (LL.M.), and the University of Adelaide, LLB with Honours.

Mr Stephen Mathias, is the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, United Nations. Before joining the United Nations, he served at the United States State Department, including as Assistant Legal Adviser for United Nations Affairs and Legal Counsellor at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague.  Mr. Mathias was educated at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and Columbia Law School.

Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law Roundtable w/ Professor Marco Sassòli

Melbourne Law School | 27 June 2016

Professor Marco Sassòli visited Melbourne Law School on Monday 27 June. Professor Sassòli is Professor of International Law and Director of the Department of International Law and International Organization at the University of Geneva. He is, without doubt, one of the leading scholars of the law of armed conflict today.

APCML organised an informal roundtable which allowed Professor Sassòli and interested MLS students and staff to discuss their ongoing work.

Professor Sassòli also delivered a lecture on 27 June, entitled “Is the Law of Armed Conflict in Crisis?”. The lecture was hosted by the Australian Institute of International Affairs (in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross) at Dyason House, 124 Jolimont Road, East Melbourne.

Asia Pacific Military Justice Workshop

National University of Singapore | 19–21 September

(A joint initiative between the National University of Singapore and Melbourne Law School, APCML)

The aim of the workshop was to explore developments in military justice systems in the Asia Pacific region from a comparative perspective. An important contextual aspect is that comparative studies of military justice have predominantly focused on Europe and the Americas. The workshop was an opportunity to address this perceived imbalance.

In particular, the workshop sought to identify and analyse the domestic and international law factors that have driven change in the region. Specific topics included consideration of the military law and civilian law divide, the requirements of independence of military tribunals, jurisdiction over military personnel and civilians and the perceived civilianization of military justice systems. Practical issues affecting military justice, such as the suppression of sexual misconduct (including on UN peacekeeping operations), the use of classified evidence and the provision legal counsel to accused members), were also addressed.

Topics involving a strong international law perspective included the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction and immunities (including under status of forces agreements), the application of laws of armed conflict (LOAC) principles such as combatant immunity, as well as the prosecution of breaches of LOAC and the application of human rights law (including in relation to military personnel aged under 18).

Overall, the workshop not only identified common issues affecting most military justice systems, but also issues that may not have received comprehensive study and attention outside of a specific national system.

The workshop speakers included academics and practitioners from the Asia Pacific and United Kingdom as well as Defence Personnel from the Asia Pacific, Brazil, Canada and the USA.

The US Approach to the Convention Against Torture in Armed Conflict

Ashika Singh Forrester Fellow, Tulane University Law School

Melbourne Law School | 8 June 2016

A seminar addressing the US approach to the convention against torture in armed conflict.

Ashika Singh served for four years as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser, most recently in the Office of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. State Department. At the State Department, Ms. Singh worked on a range of sensitive legal issues relating to national security, including detention at Guantanamo Bay and other law of war matters.

Sex, Statistics, Peacekeepers and Power

Dr Kate Grady University of London, SOAS Melbourne Law School | 19 October 2016

The UN Secretariat provides annual statistics on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse made against peacekeeping personnel, with reduced numbers of allegations leading to claims of success for the UN’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy. This seminar explored the use of data as ‘technologies’ of global governance, in order to examine International Committee of the Red Cross legal adviser Jean-Marie Henckaerts the function that these annual statistics serve for the UN and the impact that they have on calls for legal reform. Thus far, the statistics have attracted little academic appraisal. Yet, they have been used to establish the UN’s authority to resolve the ‘problem’ of sexual exploitation and abuse, diminishing the space for critique of UN policy and undermining the quest for improved legal arrangements.

The Obligation to Respect and Ensure Respect of International Humanitarian Law in Contemporary Conflicts

Jean-Marie Henckaerts

Melbourne Law School | 8 November

International Committee of the Red Cross legal adviser Jean-Marie Henckaerts delivered a thought-provoking reflection on the challenges of ensuring respect for IHL. This special lunchtime event marked the launch of the updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention. Drawing on the last 60 years of State practice and scholarship, this long-awaited commentary has exposed a range of developments in the interpretation and application of the Geneva Conventions since their adoption in 1949.

Melbourne@Defence Seminar - Rethinking rule of law: recognising the role of people, power and politics

Canberra ADF | 3 May 2016

APCML visiting scholar and International Lawyer Ms Leanne McKay

The rule of law is frequently heralded as a panacea for the many problems facing post-conflict societies. It is lauded as a tool for protecting human rights and human security, promoting law and order and economic development, addressing poverty, and more. In the area of peace and security, it is considered the surest way to manage and prevent the recurrence of conflict, to promote peace, and to rebuild post-conflict societies. On this basis, the international community has spent billions of dollars and decades of effort on promoting rule of law abroad. Yet the results have been less than impressive. Global rule of law indices reveal that the state of rule of law is in decline or has remained static in the majority of countries. Over 90% of the civil wars that began since 2010 have been in countries that previously experienced civil war. The traditional approach to rule of law promotion – one that is technical, legal, state-focused and apolitical – is inadequate. This is because efforts to strengthen rule of law do not happen in a vacuum, but in a specific context of state and social institutions and of complex political, power, and human dynamics and interactions. A different approach is needed – one that is holistic, adaptive, systematic, and people-centric. An approach that challenges us to rethink our assumptions about rule of law.

Defence@Melbourne Seminar - The 2016 Defence White Paper: Some Reflections

Melbourne Law School | 4 May 2016

Captain Ric Casagrnade, RAAF, CSM

A seminar which addressed the following,

*How important is international law to Australia’s security strategy?
*What are the international law challenges for Australia’s national security strategy?
*How will this strategy be implemented?
*What does this mean for Australian military international policy?

Melbourne@Defence Seminar - The US Approach to the Convention Against Torture in Armed Conflict

Canberra ADF | 28 July 2016

APCML visiting scholar Ashinka Singh, Tulane Law

A seminar addressing the US approach to the convention against torture in armed conflict.

Ashika Singh served for four years as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser, most recently in the Office of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. State Department. At the State Department, Ms. Singh worked on a range of sensitive legal issues relating to national security, including detention at Guantanamo Bay and other law of war matters.

Melbourne@Defence Seminar - Contemporary Issues in IHL

Canberra ADF | 8 August 2016

Naz Modirzadeh, Founding Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC)

Naz Modirzadeh discussed some contemporary IHL issues such as medical care in armed conflict; the end of NIAC; foreign terrorist fighters and IHL with defence personnel and DFAT.

The Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law is operated by the University of Melbourne and it is not an agent of, nor affiliated with, or part of, the Australian Government or the Department of Defence.