On 14 March 2014, Timor-Leste Finance Minister Emilia Pires, who was member the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, explained how the new development goals were established with inclusion of the need for good governance and effective institutions as well as stable and peaceful societies as 10th and 11th goals of new MDGs. In her conversation with Rector David Malone of the UN University, she also provided detailed accounts of peace and state building challenges faced by Timor-Leste and other conflict prone countries. She emphasized the need to hold genuine partnership between host and donor countries by asking that the donor and partner countries talk “nothing about us, without us.”
On 14 March, Timorese Finance Minister Emilia Pires visited the secretariat of the Japan Forum on International Relations and met with Mr. Kaoru Ishikawa, Senior Executive Director. Mr. Ishikawa informed the Minister about the role played by Japan Forum in fostering exchange of views on current international issues, while Minister Pires explained about the g7+ group of fragile countries aimed at self-reliance and cooperation.
On 3 March, the UN University Library held its first library talk on the book, Primordial Leadership: Peacebuilding and National Ownership written by Professor Sukehiro Hasegawa. Ambassador Isilio da Silva of Timor-Leste pointed out the significance of five key attributes of leadership that contributed to successful peacebuilding in Timor-Leste. The Ambassador was followed by several other discussants that included Mr. Ken Inoue, former Director for Governance Support, UNMIT, Mr. Takakazu Ito, Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support (DFS), New York, Katsumi Ishizuka, Professor, Kyoei University, Professor Miko Maekawa of Osaka University, Ms. Seiko Toyama, International Peace Cooperation Headquarters, Cabinet Office and Mr. Satoru Miyazawa, UNHCR.
On 1 March 2014, Ms. Seiko Toyama of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters of the Cabinet Office and Mr. Shogo Yoshida, Candidate for Tokyo University Graduate School made their presentations. Ms. Toyama mentioned UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, particularly in UNMISS in South Sudan. She also explained the role played by the Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel. Mr. Yoshida presented his bachelor thesis on the possibility for the concept of human security being reflected within the framework of existing UN peacekeeping activities, using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the peacekeeping operations in Timor-Leste. Moreover, he adverted to his draft of research proposal for the master’s course.
On 1 March 2014, the General Assembly of the Peacebuilding Research Association held at Hosei University adopted its constitution and elected Mr. Yasuki Uchiyama as its new Secretary General. The General Assembly also elected five members of the Board of Directors, Mr. Katsumi Ishizuka, Mr. Satoru Kurosawa, Ms. Chika Saito, Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa and Mr. Takaaki Mizuno. Professor Sukehiro Hasegawa was voted to continue as the President of the Association.
On 17 January 2014, a book launch was organized at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to mark the publication of Professor Hasegawa’s book, « Primordial Leadership – Peacebuilding and National Ownership in Timor-Leste ». The book launch convened a wide audience from various parts of the UN system and diplomats from Missions to the UN from the region. (Hillel Loew)
Mr Kaoru Ishikawa, former Ambassador to Egypt and currently Senior Executive Director/ Director of Research of the Japan Forum on International Relations, made a stimulating speech on the situation in Egypt as seen in various perspectives and understandings of its historical developments. The lecture delivered under the theme of “A Nation Building in the Globalized World,” focused on the causes and implications of the current political crisis of Egypt. He attached a high value to the independent way of observing and thinking about what has been happening, noting the importance of thinking always about the ‘other side of the coin’ of what we hear or learn. He pointed that ignorance on Egyptian multi-layered societies intertwined with historical facts and traditions might have led to some missteps by foreign powers in dealing with the crisis. Following his lecture, two commentators, Professor Takaaki Mizuno of the Kanda University of International Studies and Professor Miki Honda of the Waseda University made remarks on the aforementioned topic. Joined by other participants, extensive and lively discussions followed over such issues as national sovereignty, the Westphalia system’s non-universal reality, and election. (Ikeda)
The Peacebuilding Study Group held on 14 September a seminar on the applicability of rule of law in settling international disputes. It centered on the presentations made by two guest speakers, Professors Yozo Yokota and Yasushi Higashizawa and comments by Professor Hideaki Shinoda and Mr. Shinpei Yamamoto. Introduced in the presentations were the relationship between domestic and international laws as explained in “Rule of Law – A Guide for politicians” by Professor Higashizawa of Meiji Gakuin University, and the legal issues arising out of the territorial disputes of the Senkaku Islands between Japan and China by President Yokota of the Japan Association on United Nations Studies. (Drafted by Jason Pratt)
At the fourth seminar of peacebuilding research group, Captain Hideki Hayashi of the Ministry of Defense explained the nature of “collateral damage” and how it happens by citing three examples. When the Nation State exercises its state military based on its sovereign right to “use of Force” , the aforementioned “use of Force” “jus in bello” shall be applied and covered by the “Law of war”; such as “law of Armed conflicts”, “rules of war” and “international humanitarian laws”. (Jason Pratt and Asami Ikeda)
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)