Commanders and legal advisers in the Armed Forces play a central role in ensuring that the law is respected in the field. The Law of Armed Conflicts (LOAC), Human Rights Law (HRL) and the rules governing the Use of Force (UoF) can only be fully implemented if integrated in the planning and execution of military operations. The Central Role of the Commander course (CENTROC) aims precisely to support commanders in their most relevant task: accomplishing the mission respecting the law.
The 2018 edition of CENTROC took place at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) from 26 to 31 August. Led by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), in partnership with the Security and Law Programme at the GCSP, CENTROC is designed as an international workshop within the framework of the PfP Partnership Work Programme. It is open to commanders, staff officers and legal advisers (OF-3 and above), planned for operational assignment.
This year’s edition attracted 29 participants from 14 different countries. The sessions focused on current operational challenges, through case studies and practical exercises, preceded by contextual in-briefs by international experts and practitioners with operational experience. Key subjects included targeting, use of force, detention and LOAC liability and enforcement.
The scope of the workshop was successfully met. Participants gained in-depth understanding of the key legal principles at commanding levels, and trained to apply them in the planning and execution of military operations. This edition of the workshop also focused on the necessity of co-operation between commanders and legal advisers and on the promotion of exchange and understanding of different military cultures. The visit to the museum of the International Committee of the Red Cross completed the training with a humanitarian perspective on current challenges related to the implementation of the law of armed conflicts.
GCSP welcomes the new alumni, and wishes them much success in their careers. The Security and Law Programme is proud to support a better understanding and implementation of international law in the security realm, both through its executive education courses and its new event series Security and Law: A Reality Check.