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Senate to domesticate Geneva Conventions

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River Gee County Senator Commany B. Wesseh, and Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo vow to work with their colleagues at the Liberian Senate to enact the Geneva Conventions or GC 70 Domestication Convention into law before or upon their return from break.

Speaking on behalf of the legislature Monday, August 13, at Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions organized by the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS), the Liberian IHL Committee (LIHLC) and the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) with support of the International Committee of the Red Cross Liberia Office, Senator Wesseh said he and Senator Zargo will spend more time to ensuring smooth passage of the domestication convention bill that is expected to be submitted to the legislature.

“We are about to take our break, but I can assure you all that, before we go, or immediately upon our return, we will put some time in making sure that the domestication convention bill is passed, that I want to assure this gathering”, he promised.

August 13, 2019, marks the 70th Anniversary of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 (GC70). Liberia joins the GC70 commemoration with two main activities, including re-inauguration of the Monument of the Geneva Conventions and one- day symposium to discuss the Conventions.

The Monument of the Geneva Conventions was erected in 1999 on Board Street, Monrovia by the ICRC following consent from the Government and people of Liberia. The GCs memorial was first inaugurated during the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions by former Liberia Defense Minister Daniel Chea, 20 years ago.

The monument depicts soldiers and armed carriers/bearers stretching their hands to receive the Geneva Conventions, which signifies respect, implementation and promotion of the Geneva Conventions and additional protocols that call for humane treatment for victims and those caring for them.

Liberia is pushing strongly for the domestication of the conventions. The Liberia IHL Committee has already finalized a bill on the domestication of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, pending submission to plenary of the National Legislature shortly.

The Geneva Conventions are fundamental rules universally agreed upon by States to preserve the core of common humanity in the worst of time. The four Conventions were agreed in 1949 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.

The GC70 aims are also to call States and other actors to action: urging recommitment to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and enhanced and practical efforts towards its respect. It also provides the chance to engage in discussions about how to ensure IHL remains relevant in a changing world. The objective is to secure firm recommitments from States and their societies to the basic rules of the GCs and increase universal acceptance and implementation of IHL.

The celebration will climax with a round table symposium at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia, where participants are expected to discuss and reflect deeply on the uniqueness of the Geneva Conventions.

Four IHL trainers from the Armed Forces of Liberia will present on each of the conventions. The AFL will share experiences on success and challenges to respecting IHL and promoting respect for the Geneva conventions while on Peacekeeping Mission in Mali.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Defense, Deputy Chief of Staff of the AFL, Brigadier General Ms. Geraldine Janet George thanked the Liberian National Red Cross, and the ICRC for observing the 70th Anniversary of the Geneva Convention.
Gen. Janet George pledged the AFL’s commitment to working with humanitarian institutions to foster cooperation that will boost the performance of the army to adequately carry out its duties. By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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