Time to discern intl humanitarian laws: Ex-CJI

Time to discern intl humanitarian laws: Ex-CJI

Conflict between countries a concern

Existing international humanitarian laws need to be readdressed if they are unable to deal with issues in war-torn countries, said former Chief Justice of India S Rajendra Babu.

He was addressing a three-day South Indian regional teachers’ training programme on international humanitarian law organised by International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and University of Mysore in the city on Monday.

Justice Babu said the law should mitigate the effect of destruction caused due to wars across the globe. 

Also, the emphasis should be on reducing human suffering, he added.

With wars being fought using drones and cutting-edge technology, justice Babu said international humanitarian law needs a relook as existing regulations are insufficient to deal with present scenarios.

Citing the example of frequent wars, he said bombs are now released from the defence headquarters to another country. In such situations, while there is no involvement of soldiers, a country continues to take the beating through guided missiles. In such cases, international humanitarian law should come up with regulations to prevent any country from being attacked.

Questioning if killing Osama Bin Laden was legal, justice Babu, who was also former chairman of national human rights commission, said the Geneva convention is valid for matters of conflict between countries and those issues related to insurgency groups.

However, with Al Qaeda and Laden not being either a country or an insurgency group, he asked how the convention would apply. He said even though USA is at war with Al Qaeda, international humanitarian law could have made it unlawful.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sanoj Rajan of ICRC said the organisation is conducting programmes similar to this to spread the message of humanitarian law on international-level. Gaining knowledge in this area would help policy-makers while taking decisions on international matters.

West Bengal University of Juridical Sciences vice-chancellor Prof P Ishwara Bhat, National Law School of India vice-chancellor Prof R Venkata Rao, law department chairman M D Krishna, dean Prof C Basavaraju and coordinator Maruthi T R were present.

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