International seminar training on Urbar Warfare was organized by the Lviv Centre

On June 14th-15th, 2016, the Ukrainian Catholic University hosted an international training seminar entitled “International Humanitarian Law and Urban Warfare Challenges: Experiences and Lessons for Ukraine.” The event was organized as a collaboration between the Lviv Centre of International Law and Human Rights, the Rule of Law Center at the UCU, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The seminar was attended by about 30 participants from Ukraine, Canada, Italy, UK and other countries, hailing from various backgrounds in academia, international and non-governmental organizations, and legal fields.

Well-acclaimed Ukrainian international law lawyer and one of the top legal minds in international humanitarian law, Prof. Vasyl Repetskyy, opened the seminar by noting the importance of hosting such events and the need for further discussion regarding the topics between the academic community and practitioners in the field, including representatives of the armed forces.

The legal adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kyiv, Jan Romer, also stressed the relevance of the seminar’s topic, particularly considering the current events in Donbass. The Director of the Lviv Centre for International Law and Human Rights, Volodymyr Lysyk, expressed his gratitude to all the participants and experts for their participation in the two-day seminar.

The first day of the seminar featured two lectures by the well-respected European expert, Prof. Elizabeth Mikos-Skuza (Warsaw University, Poland), which focused on how to distinction between military and civilian targets in urban centers during warfare and sieges. Representatives of ICRC, Jan Romer and Christina Nechayeva, also presented on the practical application of international humanitarian law during urban warfare. Finally, representing the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Justice Colonel Josyp Matlay described the experiences of the armed forces in applying the legal requirements while being engaged with hostile opposition in Donbas.

A practical workshop for participants was held on the second day of the seminar. Participants worked in groups to discuss the problems arising from the legal regulation of certain aspects of warfare in populated areas and presented some potential solutions to these challenges. A follow-up discussion on all the potential solutions actively engaged all participants. The second day also featured a panel discussion about the most effective methods of disseminating information regarding the legal regulation of the hostile conduct in Ukraine and the important role of academia in such an initiative. The panel was led by Jan Romer, Prof. E. Mikos-Skuza, as well as, Ukrainian experts Oksana Senatorova (Kharkiv), Anton Korynevych (Kyiv), Dmitry Koval (Odesa), and Taras Tsymbrivskyy (Lviv).

This workshop was the biggest event to be held by the Lviv Centre for International Law and Human Rights so far. Closing the event, co-founder and board member of the ILHR, Ivan Horodyskyy, noted that there are plans to hold similar events on a regular basis and preparations for the next event have already begun.

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International conference on the protection of civilians in armed conficts and Rafał Lemkin heritage

On October, 15-16, 2015 in Lviv had taken place an International conference “Civilians In Contemporary Armed Conflicts. Rafał Lemkin’s Heritage. After the International Conference “Eastern European Cataclysms and formation of the contemporary international law” (August, 26-29, 2015) this conference had become the second big international legal event held in Lviv this year.

While opening of the conference Prof. Amb. Markiyan Malskyi stressed the need of the implementation of world experience for the creation of the common approaches towards the decision of situation which currently takes a place in Ukraine. Head of the Lviv Regional Council Petro Kolodiy welcomed the participants and Lvov and also had noted that this conference is especially significant in a contemporary complicated times. In turn, Prof. Amb. Adam Rotfeld especialyy outlined the role of Rafał Lemkin and the meaning of his scientific heritage for the development of international law in XX century.

During the conference were discussed main challenges which today are faced by the international law in the sphere of the protection of civilians during the armed conflicts. Also, great attention was paid to Rafał Lemkin – an outstanding graduate of the Lviv University, one of the most outstanding lawyers of XX century and author of the term and conception of “genocide”.

Among the participants of the event became Prof. Amb. Adam Rotfeld – ex-Minister of Foreugn Affairs of Poland, Prof. Amb. Markiyan Malskyi – the Head of the International Relations Department of Lviv University, Philippe Sands – Professor of the University College of London, Edward Haliżak – Director of the International Relations Institute of the Warsaw University, Cornelius Ochmann – Head of the Foundation of the Polish-German Cooperation, Mykola Gnatovskyi – Head of the European Committee for Prevention of Torturesm prof. Oleksandr Zadorozhnyi – Head of the Ukrainian Association of International Law, Zhanna Lukyanenko – The Representative of the Ukrainian Ombudsperson, Ivan Horodyskyy – Director of the Rule of Law Center of the Ukrainian Catholic University, As.Prof. Volodymyr Lysyk – Head of the Lviv Centre for International Law and Human Rights. Also the participants were many other lawyers and international specialists from Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Israel, Armenia etc.

The participants agreed on the importance of the conduction of such conferences and need to conduct such the events in the future. Particularly, the next year is planned to conduct an International Conference devoted to the memory of the outstanding professor of Lviv University Ludwik Ehrlich.

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