HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 570:29 June 2011

New committee related to warfare to hold first meeting

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is coordinating the first meeting of a new government committee that stems from international obligations and conventions related to warfare. The committee – on International Humanitarian Law – was mandated by Cabinet in February and is also directly connected with Red Cross International and the Cook Islands branch of the organisation.
Although the Cook Islands has no direct engagement in war-related conflicts, it is a party to a number of regional security commitments, and is bound to broader international conventions, which have stemmed from the umbrella of the four Geneva Conventions. Therefore, international obligations like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Chemical Weapons, Landmines, and Bio-Security, provide a framework in which the Cook Islands, as a competent State, maintains certain responsibilities. Regional obligations include the Aitutaki Declaration, Bikitawa Declaration, and RAMSI.
For its part, Cook Islands Red Cross has employed Fine Arnold as an International Humanitarian Law officer. This role follows the visit to the Cook Islands last year by an International Law legal advisor with Red Cross International. Arnold’s responsibilities now include developing a work programme to assist with the dissemination of information on IHL. Arnold says she will be joining the new committee and expects to meet with the government’s IHLC to explore ways in which the public officials and the organization can work together. One of the immediate tasks is to conduct a compatibility study to determine how the players can knit together the activities of a work programme.
The first meeting was due to take place late this week, or in the near future, depending on schedules. The government agencies involved are: Crown Law, Police, Health, Emergency Management Cook Islands, Justice, Ombudsman, Customs, and Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
As a coordinating agency, Foreign Affairs has proposed an agenda to discuss aspects of the IHLC; identify responsibilities; and outline a future work programme. The Ministry is also keen for Crown Law to provide a progress report on implementing legislation, such as commitments to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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