Geneva Conventions instrumental in reducing suffering, says Welch

Kathmandu, August 12

Regional Legal Adviser of the International Committee of the Red Cross Kirsty Welch said despite shortcomings, the four Geneva Conventions continued to be relevant as they were instrumental in reducing the sufferings caused by internal and international conflicts and wars.

Speaking at an interaction organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross to mark its 70th anniversary, Welch said it was up to the international community to seek revision of those conventions to cover issues that were not envisioned when those conventions were drafted decades ago.

International humanitarian law expert Prof Gita Sangroula also said that the 1949 Geneva Conventions were still relevant in the changed contexts of conflicts.

Member Secretary of National IHL Committee Phanindra Gautam said that Geneva Conventions did not clearly offer an answer as to whether cyber attack was a domestic attack or international conflict.

“Cyberattack can stop train; divert the path of a plane and open the floodgates of a dam,” he said.

Gautam said it was not clear in the intentional instruments at what point of time a conflict could be termed an armed conflict. Conflict Victims National Alliance Adviser Ram Kumar Bhandari said IHL Nepal’s role hadn’t been effective in protecting the interests of conflict victims in Nepal.

The programme was organised for government officials representing the ministries, armed and security forces and judicial bodies, officials of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Investigation of Enforced Disappeared Persons and other relevant institutions.

The latest publication of the ICRC in English and Nepali was also launched on the occasion by Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal.