Working in War: The Role of the International Committee of the Red Cross

Sponsored by Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute

Wednesday, April 13

Time: 12:10-1:10pm

Location: Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105, 435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027


Jose Serralvo, Practitioner in Residence, Human Rights Institute

Established in 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. The mandate of this four-times Nobel laureate is based, inter alia, on the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The ICRC is also the "guardian" of international humanitarian law, a branch of international law that regulates the conduct of war and the treatment of detainees. Through its bilateral and confidential dialogue with States and organized armed groups, the ICRC attempts to promote compliance with international humanitarian law and ensure respect for the lives and dignity of the victims of armed struggle all around the world. This talk will analyze the role of the ICRC, its modes of action and some of its main differences with other humanitarian actors.

Jose Serralvo is the Human Rights Institute's inaugural Practitioner in Residence. Serralvo has worked as a consultant with Human Rights Watch and has spent two years at the ICRC's Legal Division in Geneva, first as a Legal Attaché and then as Legal Advisor to the Operations. He has also been ICRC field delegate in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has carried out short missions to Somalia, Nigeria and Kenya. In May, he will transition to the position of Legal Advisor for the ICRC in Afghanistan.