||International Humanitarian Law and Military Instruction
||International Humanitarian Law and the Academic World
||Programmes for Young People
||ICRC Contribution to the Development of the Azeri Red Crescent Society
|INTERNATIONAL LAW, COMMUNICATION AND THE MOVEMENT
By becoming party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the body of what is called
International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Azerbaijan has undertaken to respect and to ensure
respect for IHL and to spread knowledge of its provisions.
People must know about humanitarian law if they are to respect it, and they must
understand Red Cross and Red Crescent activities if they are to accept and support them.
Civilians are frequently unaware of their rights and obligations under humanitarian law.
When they benefit from the protection and assistance of the Movement, they should be
better informed as to the mandate, role and ethical considerations which govern the work
of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Today's combatants are all too often ignorant of the
rules of international humanitarian law (IHL) or law of armed conflict (LOAC). By the same
token, journalists and the public tend to become aware of IHL and its applications only in
the wake of tragedy.
|INCLUSION OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW (IHL) IN NATIONAL
Each state should include IHL norms or articles concerning prevention of violations of
IHL in its national legislation.
The new Criminal Code of
the Azerbaijan Republic, adopted in December 1999, includes a part called "War
crimes" where most of the grave breaches of IHL have been included.
The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols have been translated into Azeri
and have been published with the support of the ICRC. Other IHL treaties, such as the
Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,
that Azerbaijan has signed and ratified, and the Rome Statutes of the International
Criminal Court have been translated this year.
Seminars covering different aspects of the inclusion of IHL into national legislation
are regularly given on the level of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), with the
participation of state legal experts. One expert working in the legislative and
administrative legislation department of the Milli Medjlis of the Azerbaijan Republic took
part in the seminar in Moscow, on 31st of January - 1st of February 2000. The Head of the
Department of International Law of the Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic
took part in the regional conference "Repression of War Crimes on the National and
International Level" held on the 29th-31st of May, 2000 in Moscow.
The ICRC firmly hopes that Azerbaijan will sign the Additional Protocols of 1977, which
provide increased protection for war victims in both international and non-international
|DISSEMINATION OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND COMMUNICATION
Humanitarian law and military instruction
The ICRC pursues its
endeavour to foster co-operation with the armed forces in the area of military instruction
and to have humanitarian law incorporated in operational planning.
When the conflict was at its height, many dissemination sessions took place among the
arms carriers from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior.
Today efforts focus on making the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) or IHL an integral part
of the curricula in military schools, as well as in different structures of the Ministry
of Defence and Ministry of Interior. Such a positive step has already been made with the
latter in November 1999, with a written consent of the Commander of the Internal Troops of
the Minister of Interior. In April 2000, a two-day session on LOAC was held at the
headquarters of the troops of Ministry of Interior for the commanders of battalions, their
chiefs of staff and the officers of the department of preparation of operations. Then, in
June 2000, the ICRC gave a lecture for 48 command and staff officers of the Main
Department (HQ) of the Interior Troops.
At the end of June an introductory session was given for the vice-commanders of all the
military units under the Ministry of Defence. This has hopefully been a first step towards
strengthened co-operation with the Ministry of Defence.
Humanitarian law and the academic world
In order to raise awareness of the importance of this body of law among the future
economic, political, media and military elite and to train experts who will have the task
of contributing to development of the law, IHL must be taught at universities.
Several IHL courses have been established in the faculties of International Law,
International Relations, Journalism, Political Science, Social Administration, Conflict
Resolution, in both public and private institutes in Baku. At present, seven main
Universities (Baku State University, Academy of Public Administration, Azerbaijan
University, the Western University, Khazar University, Azerbaijan International University
and Higher Diplomatic College) have included IHL in their curricula.
The ICRC in many countries promotes teaching of IHL in the national language of the
country. With this aim in mind, the books "Development and .principles of
International Humanitarian Law" by Jean Pictet and "International Humanitarian
Law. An Introduction" by Hans-Peter Gasser have been translated into Azeri.
Postgraduate students and professors of International Law participate regularly in IHL
seminars organised at CIS level. Two IHL teachers from Baku State University and the
Academy of Public Administration took part in the recent course, held in Moscow during
February 2000. An IHL professor took part in the academic conference in St.Peterbourg, the
goal of which was to give the participants an opportunity to exchange their opinions and
discuss problems related to the development of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and
its implementation. A Professor of Journalism from Baku State University participated in
the Seminar for Journalism faculties on the level of the CIS held from 19 to 23.09.00.
In order to stimulate the interest among the students in the study of IHL and research
on the subject, the ICRC organised on the 23-24 of March 2000 an IHL competition between
students of four Universities in Baku. Since 1998 teams from Baku Universities have an
opportunity to participate in the De Martens moot court competition organised by the ICRC
at CIS level in Moscow. In 2000, the team from Baku State University won the first prize
among all CIS competitors.
Programmes for young people
The general purpose of
ICRC programmes for young people is to provide them with basic standards of reference that
enable them to form an opinion on humanitarian and social problems, based on the principle
of human dignity.
To this end, a literature textbook was created in 1997. The book comprises Azeri tales
and stories and aims to raise awareness among the children about the importance to limit
After approval by the Ministry of Education, more than 150.000 copies of the textbook
were printed and distributed to all fifth form pupils throughout Azerbaijan and 6.000
pedagogical guide books were distributed to the teachers.
A new literature textbook destined for sixth form pupils is currently being compiled.
The draft has been approved by the competent Commission of the Ministry of Education. The
book based essentially on Azerbaijani literature intends to sensitise pupils to
humanitarian values, such as respect of the others' dignity, compassion, mutual
assistance. It introduces the basic rules of IHL.
The ICRC from October 1996 up to March 2000 implemented a Mine-awareness programme in
Azerbaijan. During the programme two main groups were targeted. The first phase aimed to
make the population living close to the front line and in front-line districts as well as
in internally displaced persons (IDPs) settlements in the central and southern districts
aware of the danger of Anti-personnel mines and Unexploded ordnance (UXO).
In the second phase more precise and complete information was provided to the IDP
community. Seminars were organised for teachers in IDP schools situated close to the front
line and those scattered all over the country, for NGO staff who worked in the front line
zone. Pupils were taught about the reality of the danger of mines as well as on the
correct behaviour to adopt in dangerous areas.
Towards the end of the programme, about 600,000 people had received information about
the danger of mines among them 162'224 students and more than 38'000 teachers.
On March 2000, the Mine Awareness Programme under the umbrella of the ICRC came to an
end. The two ICRC Mine Awareness Officers were recruited by ANAMA (Azerbaijan National
Agency For Mine Actions), where they develop a new approach to Mine Awareness activities.
The ICRC maintains close contact with the Mine Awareness Department of ANAMA.
Relations with media
Contacts with media are regular through press releases and interviews given to local
and international journalists. A bulletin focusing on ICRC local and world wide activities
is sent to the press on a regular basis.
"Protection of journalists during their professional missions" by Gasser was
translated into Azeri.
A two days seminar was held in May 2000 for mass media representatives to improve their
knowledge on IHL and ICRC activities.
Information for the general public
The ICRC's web site is updated regularly to keep cybernauts abreast of developments and
issues related to conflict victims and humanitarian action in war zones. Updated
information on ICRC activities in Azerbaijan is also available on the Azerweb web-site
Some ICRC audio-visual productions have been translated and are ready to be broadcast
on national channels.
|ICRC CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AZERI RED CRESCENT
It is essential that all members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement be capable
of providing assistance in an effective and efficient manner. Recognising the importance
of maintaining a functional National Society in every country with the capacity to respond
rapidly to armed conflicts and other disasters, the ICRC helps strengthen and supports the
National Societies through co-operation in various fields.
1997 saw the start of a co-operation programme in the field of the dissemination of IHL
and of the rules of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement. One co-ordinator and
seven regional responsibles are in charge of promoting the activities of the Azeri Red
Crescent and the principles of the Red Cross Movement.
The ICRC delegation in Azerbaijan provides also support to the Tracing Service of the
Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society which aims to re-establish family links for families who
have lost contact with their loved ones, owing to the breakdown of postal services.
These cases are however not linked to the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict.