decade-old conflicts, humanitarianneeds have reached unprecedentedlevels. For a deeper look at the year to come, click below to watch aninterview with Pierre Krähenbühl,ICRC Director of Operations.
Reflections on 2010,Challenges of 2011
challenging sexual violence
detention visits we undertake in Guantanamo. In addition, Jamie served as a guest speaker on numerous panels and in conferences.
Why did you want to work for the ICRC in Washington?
Following 9/11, questions were raised about the adequacy ofIHL, in particular in the context of modern day asymmetricwarfare. A mission with the ICRC in Washington provided afabulous opportunity to be in an environment where internationalhumanitarian law was continuously being debated and tested inthe context of various conflicts. Being able to work on the manycomplex legal issues was certainly going to be rewarding andnever a dull experience. Who could not want such a challenge?
Could you describe your work these past few years with theICRC Regional Delegation for the U.S. and Canada? Whatdoes the legal team in ICRC Washington do? What weresome key high points?
From advising on the many issues arising out of Guantanamo,Afghanistan and Iraq with the US Government and the military,to debating the merits of the ICRC's direct participation in
hostilities guidance with JAGs and academia, and meeting withinternees in Guantanamo, every day brought something new tothe table. For the legal team, working closely with the otherdepartments, at times we had to concede that the law does notnecessarily provide all of the answers. That is no bad thing.Indeed, to be looking beyond pure law to find ways to alleviatesuffering in armed conflicts, and instead to turn to moralobligations and humanitarian policy is an all the more interestingdimension of the work as ICRC legal adviser.One of the high points of the mission formed the ExecutiveOrders,signed by President Obama in January 2009, whichimportantly reaffirmed the relevance of the US' commitment tothe Geneva Conventions,and reiterated that the ICRC was to
be given full access to DoD facilities. Also the invitee turnout atthe delegation's event for the 60th anniversary of the GenevaConventions at the Newseum in August 2009 testified to the
special place given to IHL and to humanitarian values.
What do you see as the major upcoming hot topics ininternational humanitarian law in the United States andCanada?
New technologies, such as cyberwarfare, the expansion of thetraditional battlefield, and detention in non-international armedconflicts, will certainly all be areas of particular relevance as theface of modern armed conflict evolves. The challenge with thesenew trends is to ensure that IHL is not simply dismissed as an
antiquated body of law, but rather, as has been shown over thepast few years, that it is as relevant and necessary today as itwas at the turn of last century.
Before the ICRC, you served for several years with differentUN Tribunals. Can you share how your career hasdeveloped within the field of international law? Do you haveany advice for those considering a career in internationallaw?