Ambassador Marja Lehto to the Council of the International Institute for Humanitarian Law

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 26.9.2019 10.35
News item

Ambassador Marja Lehto was elected to the Council of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) International Institute of Humanitarian Law on 6 September 2019.

Photo: Atelier Nyblin

The Institute is an independent, non-profit humanitarian association that organises training and produces publications in the field of international humanitarian law, for example. It aims not only to raise awareness of humanitarian law but also to promote better implementation of humanitarian law by increasing dialogue between researchers and practical actors. The Institute is also known for its authoritative manuals on humanitarian law, such as 'San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflict at Sea' (1994) and 'The Manual on the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict' (2006).

The Institute works closely, among others, with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations International Organisation for Migration.

The Institute has approximately 200 staff who are renowned experts in international humanitarian law. The Council is composed of twelve members. It oversees the management of the Institute, determines the annual programme of activities, elects the President and Vice-Presidents of the Institute, and appoints the Secretary-General.

The Institute for International Humanitarian Law is located in Sanremo, Italy.

At the moment, the Institute's work focuses, among other things, on the impacts of developments in weapon technologies on the interpretation and application of international humanitarian law.

Ambassador Lehto has studied the interface between international humanitarian law and other areas of justice (anti-terrorism regulation, human rights, international environmental law) and wishes to raise these issues during her term of office.

Lehto is also a member of the International Law Commission of the UN (ILC) and Special Rapporteur of the ILC on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts.

What is international humanitarian law?

International humanitarian law is about the code of conduct for war. It is based on the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. The code of conduct for war aims to limit the methods of warfare and the weapons used and to regulate, for example, the treatment of wounded persons. The agreements mainly protect the rights of non-military actors: the civilian population and wounded and surrendered soldiers.

More information from the Finnish Red Cross and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' publication on the Code of Conduct for War.

International Institute for Humanitarian Law

Humanitarian Aid on the Finnish Red Cross website

Ministry for Foreign Affairs' publication on the Code of Conduct for War