June 22, 2015
In the news:
Al-Qaeda’s second in command, Nasir al-Wahishi, who led the group’s Yemeni affiliate, was killed by a U.S. airstrike last week in Yemen. Al-Wahishi was a former aide of Osama bin Laden and made al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula the strongest branch of the organization. The branch claimed responsibility for the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, which killed 12 people.
In Syria, the Kurds have taken control of the town of Tal Abyad from ISIS militants. This is a key victory blocking access to an important supply route to Raqqa province, an Islamic State stronghold. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that there are still “some small pockets of resistance” within the town where ISIS fighters remain.
Afghan and Taliban senior officials met in Norway for two days of peace talks while participating in the Oslo Forum, an event for peace mediators and representatives to attempt to resolve armed conflict. The hope for peace is especially great as recent battles between the Taliban and ISIS fighters have forced thousands to flee eastern Afghanistan.
President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir left South Africa last week, defying a court order requiring he stay in the country and comply with an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant. Bashir is wanted by the ICC for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur. The court has issued two warrants for Bashir’s arrest, the most recent issued in 2010. The ICC has no police force and must rely on states to enforce its arrest warrants, largely limiting the court’s effectiveness at bringing leaders to justice.
Around the web:
New U.S. Department of Defense Law of War Manual. The first ever DoD-wide Law of War Manual has been released and intends to serve as a resource on international humanitarian law, or the law of armed conflict, for military commanders, legal practitioners, and other military and civilian personnel. The full text of the manual is available here.
On the blog:
70 Million Deaths Need Not Be a Statistic. The short film The Fallen of World War II, presents the deaths of World War II in an understandable and impactful manner, demonstrating the true cost of war in human lives. Red Cross Legal Advisor Federico Barillas sheds light on how we consider the mass number of deaths in war and the future nature of armed conflict.
The War Fed Famine. Federico’s recent post highlights the true scale of the loss of life during in World War II. It reminds us of an often overlooked tragedy from World War II, that of the great Bengal famine. Three million Indians lost their lives in a famine caused by British war time policies. This post explores the causes, reaction, and legacy of that event.
IHL Youth Leadership Summit – Recorded Sessions. The Youth Leadership summit was a huge success, with teams coming into DC to showcase their IHL Action Campaigns. Their presentations were recorded so you can watch them too! Check out the videos here!
An Invaluable IHL Teaching Tool: Raid Cross in the National Capital Region. Raid Cross is a simulation based learning activity that teaches students about IHL in a fun and accessible way. This year the National Capital Region presented Raid Cross to 80 students and trained 15 university students as Raid Cross volunteers. You can read all about their work promoting this excellent program on the blog!