On Wednesday 26 December 2012, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights concluded a training course entitled “International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Litigation Procedures and Prosecution of War Criminals”, held at the Laterna restaurant in Gaza City.
Shirin Ash-Shobaki, Coordinator of Training and Mass Communication Unit at Al Mezan; Dr.
Ahmed Al Agha, Head of IHL Department at University of Palestine; and Mr.
Mohammed Hashem, lecturer at the University of Palestine, concluded the course by welcoming the 23 practicing and trainee lawyers.
Ash-Shobaki thanked them for their active participation during the course.
Shirin Ash-Shobaki addressed the participants stressing the importance of IHL in the Palestinian context and the role lawyers can play in ensuring its respect in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in general.
She said that “the current situation in the Gaza Strip; especially since the Israeli implementation of the so-called Unilateral Disengagement Plan in September 2005, requires more focus on IHL.
It is vital to seek further protection for civilians and accountability for IHL violators”.
Ash-Shobaki also said that “Israel’s designation of Gaza as a ‘hostile entity’, the latest two IOF aggressions successively code-named “Operation Cast Lead” and “Pillars of Clouds” and the subsequent imposition of a full blockade on Gaza all constitute flagrant violations of IHL and must be challenged through ensuring the rule of law at the international level”, adding that “lawyers can play a vital role towards this end”.
The 24-hour course was delivered over four days.
The course was intended to introduce participants to the historical and legal framework of IHL and international human rights law (IHRL), the content of IHL and IHRL, protected groups under international law; the application of international law; enforcement mechanisms; the responsibility of an occupying power towards the population of an occupied territory; and the legal status of the oPt.
The participants were also introduced to international criminal law, mechanisms for prosecuting war crimes, in addition to the monitoring and documentation mechanisms.
This course was held as part of the 'Promotion of IHL and ESCR by Education in Gaza,’ project implemented by Al Mezan in cooperation from Diakonia.
The project aims to raise awareness of IHL and enhance its implementation for better protection of civilians under occupation.
It also seeks to build the capacity of lawyers and other societal groups to make use of IHL in their legal and protection activity.