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What do the laws of war, dogs and pickles have in common?

They are all great loves of the volunteers who chair our International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Advisory Committees.
IHL sets out what can and cannot be done during an armed conflict. Its main purpose is to maintain some humanity in armed conflict, save lives and reduce suffering. The laws forbid torture and inhuman treatment, protect hospitals, aid workers and cultural property, and limit the weapons and tactics of warfare.

Red Cross has a legal mandate to promote and protect these laws that every day safeguard the lives of people who are not part of a conflict, including civilians, wounded soldiers and prisoners.

Other than our nine IHL Program staff members who are dedicated to promoting humanity in armed conflict, we have many volunteers who provide advice, guidance and support to help us fulfil our mandate, including the Chairs of our IHL advisory committees.

Our committees help us to promote a better understanding of  IHL, our Fundamental Principles and the Red Cross Red Crescent emblems.

Meet our chairs.

Charles Burkitt – Northern Territory

  • Vice President of Australian Red Cross, Australian Red Cross volunteer in the Northern Territory for over 30 years, and former Chair of the NT Divisional Advisory Board
  • Passionate about community connection and the application of the seven Fundamental Principles that guide the activities of all Red Cross staff, members and volunteers
  • Extensive experience in the finance and property industries
  • Currently active on several community-based committees and commercial boards
  • Fun fact: adjusting to having my life guided and influenced by a strong-willed 17-year-old daughter

Emily Camins – Western Australia

  • Australian Red Cross volunteer in the IHL program since 1999, and the recipient of Red Cross Distinguished Service Award
  • Current PhD candidate at University of Western Australia (UWA) looking at how international law should respond to suffering of victims of armed conflict, including the right of people to obtain reparations for violations of IHL
  • Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from UWA and Graduate Diploma in International Law from University of Melbourne
  • Former solicitor with Western Australia State Solicitor’s Office and author of several articles and book chapters on IHL
  • Fun fact: Emily's first car was a 1971 honey brown Volkswagen Beetle called Fusca

Dr Rain Liivoja – Queensland

  • Associate Professor at TC Beirne School of Law at University of Queensland and Adjunct Professor of International Law at University of Helsinki, where he’s affiliated with Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
  • Currently researching legal and ethical challenges associated with military applications of science and technology generally and biosciences specifically
  • Treasurer of Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law, Member of Board of Directors of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War and Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
  • Fun fact: a Specialty Coffee Association-educated coffee snob, Rain likes to spend his free time sniffing out a good brew

Dr Matt Killingsworth – Tasmania

  • 2019 recipient of the Australian Red Cross Outstanding Service Award
  • Senior Lecturer in International Relations at University of Tasmania
  • Co-Editor of Violence and the State and the upcoming Civility, Barbarism and the Evolution of International Humanitarian Law: Who Do the Laws of War Protect?
  • Was Visiting Fellow at University of Oxford’s Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, and Visiting Scholar at George Washington University
  • Currently researching evolution of modern laws of war, and the International Criminal Court
  • Regular contributor to local and national media
  • Fun fact: Matt is a recently converted keen gardener and pickler of zucchinis

Dr Carrie McDougall – Victoria

  • Melbourne Law School Senior Lecturer and specialist in jus ad bellum, international criminal law and international humanitarian law fields
  • Worked for nearly a decade for DFAT, serving as Assistant Director of International Law Section, then as Legal Adviser at Australia’s Mission to the United Nations in New York
  • University Medallist with First Class Honours in Law and Arts from University of Tasmania
  • PhD from Melbourne Law School
  • Admitted as barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and High Court of Australia
  • Author of The Crime of Aggression under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
  • Fun fact: in her free time Carrie can be found enjoying the good life and ocean views on the Mornington Peninsula, with her husband, Fred, and puppy, Woody

Richard Rowe PSM – Australian Capital Territory

  • Red Cross volunteer since 1967 and also a current member of our National IHL Committee
  • A long career at DFAT including as Senior Legal Adviser (with responsibility for international and corporate law areas), Head of the International Organisations and Legal Division, and the Pacific Division 
  • Also served as Ambassador to Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and held senior positions in Australian Missions in New York, Geneva, Noumea, London and Hanoi
  • Recipient of the Public Service Medal (PSM)
  • Honorary Professor at Australian National University’s (ANU) College of Law and Member of Advisory Board of ANU’s Centre for International & Public Law
  • Senior Fellow, Law Masters, at Melbourne University Law School
  • Fun fact: Richard is passionate about all things relating to Antarctica, which he has visited

Dr Dale Stephens CSM – South Australia

  • University of Adelaide Law School Professor
  • Director of the Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics and Co-Editor of its RUMLAE eJournal
  • Royal Australian Navy Reserve Captain. He spent over 20 years as a permanent navy officer and was deployed twice to Timor Leste and twice to Iraq in senior legal officer positions
  • Numerous Defence Force appointments including Director of Operational and International Law and Deputy Director of Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law
  • Recipient of Defence Force’s Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM)
  • Current member of the Ploughshares/McGill University/George Washington University Strategic Space Index Consortium
  • Sits on Board of Directors for Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations to be published in 2020
  • Awarded a doctorate from Harvard Law School
  • Fun fact: Dale loves to hit the open road on his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. He once rode it to an IHL dissemination day held for secondary students

Nicole Urban – New South Wales

  • Public law lawyer with NSW Government
  • Previously IHL Research Fellow with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London
  • Master’s degree from University of Oxford in the protection of journalists under the laws of war
  • Author of several IHL publications including Media Professionals and Armed Conflict: Protection and Responsibilities under IHL – Handbook and Field Guide and co-authored Protecting Education in Insecurity and Armed Conflict: An International Law Handbook
  • Recent research interests include the application of IHL in Westeros and the battle for the Iron Throne
  • Fun fact: in her spare time Nicole cleans porridge out of her two-year-old daughter’s hair

Why do the laws of war matter?

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