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Mastering the legalities of Air and Missile Warfare at GCSP

The second edition of the executive education course “Air and Missile Warfare: Navigating the Legal Dimension (Advanced AMPLE)” took place at GCSP form 26 to 28 March 2018. Led by Mr Tobias Vestner, Cluster Leader of the Security and Law Programme, the course was attended by 21 participants from 17 different countries.

The diversity and breadth of expertise in the room was optimal to fully realising the “GCSP Way” to the benefit of all. The participants were all military and civilian practitioners holding senior positions in their organisations, with three different yet complementary backgrounds: a high number of pilots and air force operators who could complete their training with the legal framework applicable to air missions; an important group of diplomats and defence attachés from the permanent missions in Geneva and the diplomatic missions in Bern interested in the most recent developments of law in this domain; a group of experienced advisors from non-governmental organisations working in the field of the law of armed conflict who had the occasion to engage directly with practitioners.

The high-value professionalism of the participants combined with the knowledge of the external experts and the GCSP staff co-created a unique learning experience. The legal aspects of air and missile warfare were widely treated by Mr Tobias Vestner and Prof Dr Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, while Col (GS) Stefan Hinz and Col (GS) Jérôme D’Hooghe covered the operational context of missile and air operations respectively. Mr Bruno Jochum, Associate Fellow at GCSP, gave an extensive overview of the currently debated issue of attacks on health care, drawing fully from the personal experience acquired in his previous capacity as Former General Director of Médecins Sans Frontières Switzerland. Finally, Laurent Muhlematter’s cutting-edge technical insights granted the direct engagement of the participants in a discussion on drones and lethal autonomous weapons systems, which represents without any doubt the newest frontier of air and missile warfare.

In the words of one participant, “For the first time, the AMPLE Programme allowed me to reflect and question from a different angle notions and problems that I have worked on for years now, and made me see things in a new perspective”.

GCSP will continue to engage the new alumni, and wishes them much success in their careers. The Security and Law Programme is proud to foster a better understanding and implementation of international law in the security realm, both through its executive education courses and the new event series Security and Law: A Reality Check.