[PBSG] Representative Vincent Nicod Explains How ICRC Protects Civilians in Conflict (08/06/2013)

 Mr. Vincent Nicod, the Head of the Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tokyo, delivered on June 8 a lecture on the relevance of “Responsibility to Protect” and “Protection of Civilians” in field operation and explained the implications of the concepts for ICRC in their application in practice. The ICRC is the only institution explicitly named under international humanitarian law as an authority responsible for protecting civilians in conflict. The legal mandate of the ICRC stems from the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as its own Statues. ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organization with its humanitarian mission to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance to sustain their life. In his presentation, Nicod introduced how the notion of the law that regulates the conduct of armed conflicts had developed by mentioning two historical laws: the Law of Hague and the Law of Geneva. Nicod further touched upon the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions. These additional protocols extended and strengthened the mandate for civilian protection in international and non-international armed conflict, for example by introducing the prohibition of direct attacks against civilians. A “civilian” is defined as “any person not belonging to the armed forces,” including non-nationals and refugees. Four principles were said to be essential for protecting civilians. First, the principle of distinction, which protects civilian persons and civilian objects from military personnel and operations. Second, the principle of proportionality, which requires attacks on military objects must not cause loss of civilian life considered excessive in relation to the direct military advantage anticipated. Within this second principle, every feasible precaution must be taken by commanders to avoid civilian causalities. Third, the principle of humane treatment, which requires that civilians are treated humanely at all time. Fourth, the principle of non-discrimination, which requires that all protected persons should be treated with the same consideration by parties to the conflict, without distinction. During the discussion that followed Nicod’s presentation, it was noted that the distinction and the proportionality contained several aspects to be considered including “collateral damage”. (Asami Ikeda)


[PBSG] 2nd Study Meeting on R2P and POC (11/05/2013)

 On 11th May 2013, the 2nd study meeting of the Peacebuilding Study Group was held in a conference room in the 80-nenkan building at Hosei University. In this meeting, three of the eight participants made presentations on the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) and the “Protection of Civilians” (POC), based on the UNU book “Norms of Protection: Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians and Their Interaction.” First, Mr. Taichiro Fujino, who is a graduate student at Hitotsubashi University, made a presentation about the Chapter 1, entitled “Game Change and Regime Change.” He introduced the history of and arguments for and against R2P. Next, Mr. Shogo Yoshida, who is an undergraduate student at Hosei University, discussed Chapter 2, “The Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Four Concepts,” and Chapter 3, “The Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Overlap and Contrast.” He explained the four types of POC: Combatant POC, Peacekeeping POC, Security Council POC, and Humanitarian POC. He also compared POC with R2P in terms of their similarities, interactions, and differences. Finally, Mr. Jason Pratt, who is a graduate student at Hosei University, spoke on the conclusion of the book and analyzed R2P and POC as they apply to the modern situation in Afghanistan. (Shogo Yoshida)


Heiwa Kochiku Kenkyuu Kai (H3K) (20/04/2013)

 The inaugural session of the Heiwa Kochiku Kenkyu Kai (H3K – Peacebuilding Research Group) was held at Hosei University on April 20th. The group is led under the direction of Special Advisor to the President of Timor-Leste, Professor Sukehiro Hasegawa, and managed by students and professionals in and around the Tokyo area. Aiming to broaden their own understandings of peacebuilding and share their learning with the wider world, the group has decided to hold both study sessions led by students and seminars with prominent guest speakers. The first session held on 20 April was divided into two subjects. In the first, Professor Yasunobu Sato of Tokyo University’s Graduate School spoke on the issue of human security. Mr. Sato explained the multifaceted nature of the field, which encompasses a vast range of issues from protection from diseases to disasters. Mr. Shogo Yoshida, who serves as the group’s Secretary General, also spoke on the writings of scholars in this important field. In the second session, Mr. Hideki Hayashi of the Japan Peacekeeping Training&Research Center of the Joint Staff College, and Associate Professor Yuji Uesugi of Waseda University shared their perspectives on the protection of civilians within United Nations peacekeeping missions. Both sessions allowed for members to present questions and engage in discussion. (Jason Pratt)