For three days, beginning on Tuesday, February 17, 2015, the IDF (Zahal) hosted a conference to discuss international law in contemporary armed conflicts with participants from across the globe. The international group – composed of military lawyers, experts in the field of military law, and legal advisors to international organizations – discussed operational difficulties and legal challenges posed by modern armed conflicts.
Asymmetric warfare, urban fighting, and an undefined enemy are some of the most pressing challenges in modern-day conflict. These issues are a common challenge faced by the militaries of different democratic nations engaged in conflict in different parts of the world.
To address these issues and discuss possible solutions, the IDF (Zahal) hosted its first International Legal Conference on International Law in Contemporary Armed Conflicts, led by the IDF (Zahal) Chief Military Advocate General, Maj. Gen. Dan Efroni.
Held over three days, the conference facilitated discussion between the participants about the challenges of modern armed conflicts and included a visit to Israel’s southern border with the Gaza Strip. About 70 individuals participated in the conference, including military lawyers from a collage of different nations.
“The objective of the conference is to shed light on the operational difficulties and legal challenges posed by modern armed conflicts,” stated Maj. Gen. Efroni. “We will focus primarily on the core issues that arise before, during, and after armed combat in densely populated areas and illustrate them through first-hand experiences.”
During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF (Zahal) faced many of the challenges discussed during the conference and worked hard to limit civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.
Maj. Gen. Efroni addresses the conference.
“There is no substitute for Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) as they represent basic values of any civilized nation when engaged in armed conflicts,” Maj. Gen. Efroni asserted. “As a military of a democratic state we are unequivocally obligated to the rule of law and consequently to LOAC.”
Read the full text of Maj. Gen. Efroni’s comments here.