Fort Benning, Georgia--Two Delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr. Pascal Angarita and Mr. Jacques Pinot conducted a workshop on the Lawful Use of Force at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), Jul 23-26, 2019. The purpose of the event is to expand the teaching skills of sixteen human rights instructors assigned to the four schools that comprise WHINSEC on this important area of international law. These instructors will teach this material to students attending courses at WHINSEC, some 1250-1700 each year.

The legislation that created WHINSEC in 2001 mandates that all Western Hemisphere students at WHINSEC receive classes on human rights, due process of law, rule of law, civilian control of the military, and the role of the military in a democracy. Legislation enacted in 2018 further specified that these topics also be taught to all partner nation students regardless of country of origin. WHINSEC, through its Center for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD), fulfills these mandates through its extensive curricula on democracy and human rights. CHRD regularly provides professional development opportunities for its human rights instructors, such as this workshop by the ICRC. According to Jacques Pinot, "It is extremely important that the military and police personnel be prepared, equipped, trained and educated so that their behavior on the streets as on the battlefield is in accordance with the duty to serve and protect."
"These standards that protect people should not only be known but rather integrated as values, as an ethic," he added.
The workshop focused on the application of international instruments such as the United Nations' Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials to military and police operations. These international instruments explain when the use of force by state actors is legally justified and permitted. It is imperative for our democracies throughout the Western Hemisphere that this topic be taught to all service members and law enforcement officials because excessive use of force by state agents is always a human rights violation.

Additional topics that were covered included: international norms that apply to military operations; the role of the armed forces in rule of law operations; and civilians who participate directly in armed hostilities. The workshop featured in-depth discussions of case studies along with the professional experience of the participating instructors.

WHINSEC and the ICRC have had a long standing working relationship since the Institute opened in 2001.

At the end of the workshop, Pinot said, "We salute WHINSEC for the efforts they have been making in that (human rights field) for years and are happy to have the door open to bring our humble collaboration."