Geneva Conventions: Why Tanzania is key regional actor

DAR ES SALAAM:Tanzania has been named as an important and respected actor, in the region and beyond in influencing and ensuring the 1949 Geneva Conventions are respected in all circumstances.

Ambassador of Switzerland to Tanzania, Didier Chassot made the remarks in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday evening during the exhibition launch and panel discussion to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions and; World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

“Tanzania is an important and respected actor, in the region and beyond, and it can and will –and should, as a High contracting Party herself – certainly play an important role in this regard,” the diplomat stated at the function attended by academicians, law students from university of Dar es Salaam and representatives and human rights activists.

On this, he added: “We are therefore very pleased to have this opportunity tonight to mark this anniversary here in Dar es Salaam, and to put the focus on the 1949 Geneva Convention, “the one set of rules we all agree on” their indisputable relevance and their crucial importance, and on our common responsibility to respect them and ensure their respect.”

The envoy added that Switzerland calls on all States and other actors to use their influence to prevent and stop violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as he suggested that concrete actions to be taken at national level include ratification of the additional protocols, adoption of laws implementing the Geneva Conventions at national level, and their dissemination within the armed forces and among the civilian population.

According to him, an effective implementation of the same requires the establishment of national commissions for the implementation of IHL and the drafting of voluntary reports on the implementation of IHL, for instance.

“Violations of the Conventions are not a sign of their ineffectiveness, but a reflection of the actions of parties to conflicts.

“And these violations must not go unpunished, as that makes sustainable peace, justice and reconciliation even more difficult to achieve after the conflict,” he said

To get rid of such, Ambassador Chassot suggested that a national legal framework is essential to investigate crimes under International Law, particularly war crimes, and to bring to justice or extradite those suspected of committing such crimes.

 

 

The event featured a panel discussion on the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the importance of the Laws of War whereby discussants exchanged views on the work of the ICIC and the Red Cross, stressing the importance of the Conventions to protect civilians and other no combatting individuals during conflicts.

Moderator of the discussion

Speakers participated in the event were Mr Joseph Masangula, a student at the University of Dar es Salaam School of Law, Ms Joyce Bayachamo who is a legal advisor at the International Committee of the Red Cross, Major Sebastian Mwakalindile from the Tanzania People’s Defence Force as well as the Tanzania Red Cross Society’s director of medical services, Dr Hilary Ngude.

The discussions were moderated by Ms Anna Bwana, County Director at BBC Media Action.

The two-week long exhibition will feature a set of images from the ICRC on African traditions and the preservation of humanity during war.

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