four people sat at a table with microphones with logos on the wall behind them: Prof Stone is on the end speaking.

Prof Peter Stone, Vice President of BSI, speaks at the Geneva Call “Heritage Under Fire” report launch 28 01 2019 © BSI 2019

Professor Peter Stone, Vice President of Blue Shield International, spoke at a panel as part of the UK launch of the Geneva Call Report: “Culture under fire: armed non-state actors and cultural heritage in wartime”. Stone welcomed the report as it stressed the complexity of cultural property protection during armed conflict, as well as explaining the work of BSI and how there were clear opportunities for future collaboration in heritage protection.

The event was hosted by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London on 28 January 2019, and chaired by Charles Garraway, Essex University. Speakers including Pascal Bongard (Geneva Call), Dr. Anne-Marie Carstens (Georgetown University), and Kristin Hausler (British Institute of International and Comparative Law), who also convened it.

BIICL described the event as: “International humanitarian law (IHL) contains specific rules which obliges all parties to an armed conflict, including non-state armed groups, to respect cultural property. However, until recently, not a lot of attention has been paid to the applicability of those rules to non-state armed groups. Therefore, Geneva Call has engaged in a pioneering two-year study on armed groups and cultural heritage, in order to assess the rules applicable, as well as the role of those groups in the protection of cultural heritage more in general. This event will present the key findings of the study. It will be an opportunity to discuss the information obtained through desk and field research, including interviews with leading specialized organizations and with armed groups operating in Iraq, Mali, and Syria.”

Geneva Call is a neutral and impartial non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting respect by armed non-State actors (ANSAs) for international humanitarian norms in armed conflict and other situations of violence, in particular those related to the protection of civilians. Geneva Call is currently focusing its efforts on banning the use of anti-personnel mines, protecting children from the effects of armed conflict, prohibiting sexual violence in armed conflict and working towards the elimination of gender discrimination. Geneva Call also responds to requests from ANSAs to help build their knowledge of, and capacities to implement international humanitarian norms, such as through providing training and technical advice. In addition, the organization may also provide other assistance and services within communities where ANSAs operate.

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) provides informed, independent and practical legal ideas for a global community. Its high quality and respected work involves analysis and debate about contemporary issues on every continent, from its base in the heart of London’s energetic and multicultural legal network. BIICL is one of the very few independent legal bodies of its type in the world, as it is unaffiliated to any university, is a charity/not-for-profit organisation and is nonpartisan. BIICL undertakes 5 key activities:

  • Applied legal research;
  • Informed and diverse events and discussions;
  • Effective and capacity-building training;
  • World leading publications;
  • Fostering a diverse community of scholars and practitioners through its membership offer.

Download the report “Culture under fire: armed non-State actors and cultural heritage in wartime” from the Geneva Call website (pdf)

Learn more about Geneva Call on their website

Learn more about the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) on their website