The President of the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LMRCS) Mr. Jerome N.J. Clarke rallies Liberian support for full compliance with International Humanitarian Law, particularly soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia on peacekeeping mission in Mali.He gave the call on Monday, 12 August at commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions organized by the LNRCS, the Liberian International Humanitarian Law Committee (LIHLC) and the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) with support of the International Committee of the Red Cross Liberia Office.
He says while Liberia sincerely acknowledge and appreciate efforts and support from the ICRC to increase IHL training and awareness in the AFL, the country must ensure that international treaties are integrated into domestic laws and legislations.Mr. Jerome narrates that the Conventions were agreed in the aftermath of the Second World War, in a world that had lived through enormous horrors and never again wanted to see such harms repeated.
“Today, Seventy years on, the Geneva Conventions are much more than a legacy, or simply something to be proud of and commemorate. A lot has been achieved since 1949. But much more needs to be done”, he urges.He stresses it is now time the Government through the Liberia International Humanitarian Law Committee to act, noting that significant progress has been reported toward the domestication of the Geneva Conventions and is ready for submission before the Liberian legislature for enactment into law.
He adds the effort of the committee is incredible and it proves Liberia as a true party to the Geneva Conventions, but it now requires collective support, more powerful advocates and a spirit of innovation to ensure submission to the Legislature for enactment.
Deputy Head of Delegation of the ICRC Ms. Valerie Aubert, says the institution as the promoter and guardian of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for over 150 years worldwide –has also been in Liberia for more than 30 years.She recalls that the 50th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions was commemorated in Monrovia in 1999 with the erection of a monument on Broad Street, Monrovia.
Ms. Aubert explains the Geneva Conventions monument which depicts soldiers and armed carriers stretching hands to receive the Geneva Conventions symbolizes respect, implementation and promotion of the global document and Additional Protocols.
According to her, obligation to respect and ensure respect for IHL is already recognized in the Geneva Conventions, noting that it doesn’t only requires the domestication of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols in national law, but also promotion of IHL and its incorporation into military doctrine, education, and training.
“The four1949 Geneva Conventions protect the core of humanity in the worst of times, they were designed to protect people in war”, says the Deputy Head of Delegation, adding, that they are the legal framework for ICRC’s action and one of the sources for the principles that guide it: humanity, impartiality and neutrality.
The 70th Anniversary which brought together key officials of government, members of the legislature, officials of the ICRC, and the LNRCS took place with the re-inauguration of the monument on Broad Street by Deputy Defense Minister for Administration cutting the ribbon along with array of officials from the ICRC, and the National Red Cross Society.By Lewis S. Teh