The President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), Judge Theodor Meron, on Wednesday, 12 October 2016, delivered a lecture on the Criminal Repression of International Humanitarian Law Violations: Lessons from the International Criminal Justice Mechanisms at the Regional International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Course for Arab Diplomats, in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The Course, co-organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, gathered international legal experts and regional Arab diplomats to discuss the role and application of international humanitarian law.

President Meron highlighted the key role played by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in strengthening the understanding of IHL principles and norms in the context of international proceedings by helping to “elucidate the contours and character of that law in meaningful ways—ways that resonate far beyond the proceedings and even the courts directly at issue”.

President Meron further emphasized the contribution of the two Tribunals not only to the repression of violations of IHL, but also to compliance with IHL and noted that“the ICTY and ICTR have been at the forefront of articulating and clarifying the elements of crimes and the various modes of individual criminal responsibility. In doing so, they have strengthened the protections afforded by IHL by helping to make the parameters of responsibility and duty clearer”.

In closing, President Meron reflected upon the importance of upholding the principles of individual criminal responsibility and respect for the rule of law in the global effort towards replacing a culture of impunity with a culture of accountability. He further underscored that “[e]very effort should be made to support courts—whether national, regional or international—seeking to ensure individual accountability for violations of IHL”.

The event was part of an annual series of courses, convened by the ICRC, with the aim to assist the Arab diplomatic community to strengthen the understanding of IHL and its application in domestic jurisdictions.