College of Law

Have a heart

The Unisa Centre for Public Law Studies and the Southern African delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross are partnering again to deliver the annual All Africa training course on international humanitarian law, bringing together 25 participants to engage in two weeks of intensive training. This partnership furthers the objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding between Unisa and the African Union, focusing on the Agenda 2063 Action Plan: “The Africa we want”.

Agenda 2063 aims to establish an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law and a peaceful and secure Africa. To this end, the participants of the course consist of influential policy-makers, including academics, practitioners, members of Red Cross Societies, the military, government officials as well as journalists from across the African continent.

As a set of norms, international humanitarian law is a set of universal rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict and specifically to protect persons who are not—or no longer—participating in hostilities and to impose limits on the means and methods of warfare. Unfortunately, the existence of the law is not in itself a guarantee that it will be respected; it is only through the faithful application by the parties to the conflict that the full power of the law can unfold.

The principal challenge is to ensure its application in practice. Without implementation, the law is a weak tool for social order. Ensuring greater respect for the law requires that all states ratify major international treaties, implement such instruments into domestic law and develop relevant policies, as appropriate. For these reasons, the course material is presented by select academics in the region and ICRC legal advisors, as well as members from the South African National Defence Force to promote better compliance with the law.

For any enquiries, please contact the Manager of the Centre for Public Law Studies, Prof Babatunde Fagbayibo (fagbabo@unisa.ac.za) or Tendayi Sengwe, Head of Communications at ICRC (tsengwe@icrc.org; @tendayi_sengwe).

*Submitted by Lee Stone