By PAULINE SAPAKE
THE national committee for implementing and spreading the knowledge of international humanitarian law held its inaugural meeting at Sir Buri Kidu House, Port Moresby yesterday.
The national humanitarian law committee (NHLC) was established in 2016 and chaired by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
NHLC chairman Dr Lawrence Kalinoe said PNG subscribes to some of the international obligations which required it to follow international humanitarian rules when in disasters and conflict situations.
“But for us, PNG pressing issues are when we start sending our missions abroad, we must sort out the issues of those jurisdictions and forums in terms of any possible liabilities that may rise from the presence of soldiers on those peacekeeping missions abroad,” Dr Kalinoe said.
He said that up to now PNG was not a member and a party to the Rome Statute which established the international criminal court of justice in 1998 and entered into force in 2002.
“That is a serious matter for us so we have to sort these things out before we engage in these international obligations, but that’s just one example.
There are other issues, other matters that we will work through, plan and program to address them and become clear after that,” he said.
International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) advocate member to the committee with other government departments such as the DJAG, Defense, Police, Education, Community Development, Youth and Religion, Foreign, Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs, especially disaster offices.
ICRC regional legal adviser Netta Goussac said ICRC was pleased to be present for the inaugural meeting and a very important day for PNG is taking just one more step in honouring its commitment in international humanitarian law which is the body of rules that protect people that are affected by arm conflict.
“The ICRC works with international humanitarian war committees around the world and we are pleased that PNG has joined the rank, the ranks of countries who have taken this important step rebidding and overseeing their government actions in order to implement IHL and make is a reality on the ground here in PNG.”