ICRC trains SLA in humanitarian law

[TamilNet, Monday, 08 March 1999, 13:55 GMT]
Twenty three Sri Lankan Army officers from various regiments will participate in seminars on the Law of Armed Conflict and International Humanitarian Law until March 13, said an ICRC ( International Committee of the Red Cross) press release issued today.

The seminars, sponsored by the ICRC, will cover topics such as, "Terminology & Basic categories (combatants/non-combatants, pow's, medical services), Control of Armed Conflict, Conduct of Operations, Behaviour in Action ( in relation to prisoners, sick and wounded, civilians, respect for disposal of the dead), Command Responsibility, and Role of ICRC in times of armed conflict," said the ICRC statement.

The Adjutant General of the Sri Lankan Army, Maj. Gen. K.A.M.G. Kularatne, said that the SLA was stressing the importance of Humanitarian Law because: "in the complex situation in which the Security Forces are faced with today, when dealing with sensitive issues such as treatement of prisoners, civilian population, maintaining law and order in newly liberated areas....it is imperative that all officers and men of the Security Forces should bear in mind the cardinal principles of the Rules of Behaviour in Combat."

According to the ICRC statement the Adjutant General also said that the Security Forces were seriously concerned by allegations of human rights violations and were taking positive steps to curb such incidents.

The head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka, Mr Max Hadorn, said that in the tenth year of cooperation with the SLA one of the most "notable" achievements had been, " the integration of the LOAC into military instruction and positive signs that a " culture" of LOAC had emerged in operational areas, especially in respect of the civilian population."

"Fully appreciating the constraints under which the army is at present, we nevertheless believe that efforts must be pursued to enhance training on the LOAC, both in the Army's training centres and at the level of the combat units in the field," Mr. Hadorn said.

An ICRC delegation was set up in Sri Lanka in 1989 on invitation by the Sri Lankan Government, said the statement. As well as promoting the LOAC within the armed forces the ICRC had also has been active in the "protection of detainees, re-establishing of family ties, providing assistance to the civilian population, dissemination of rules of behaviour in combat and acting as a neutral intermediary, whenever required," the statement added.


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