On Wednesday, December 15, the Chief of General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, attended the “Manual of Armed Conflict Law” Presentation Day, which was organised by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS) in collaboration with the NRDC-GR. The event was held at the Athens War Museum. The said Manual has been compiled by the Office of Military Legal Adviser of the NRDC-GR and aims to make the provisions of International Humanitarian Law applicable to all Armed Forces personnel in both operational training and during operation planning and execution.
The meeting was also attended by the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Air Marshal Georgios Blioumis, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff, Rear Admiral Stylianos Petrakis, the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Ioannis Papanagnostou, as a representative of the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, and the General Director of the General Directorate of Civil Defence and International Relations of the Ministry of National Defence, Dr. Konstantinos Mpalomenos.
During his greeting, the Chief of General Staff congratulated the NRDC-GR Officers who worked on the preparation of the Manual, which, as he said, covered “a significant gap in Greek literature”, emphasising its importance for every military. He also referred to the contradictions of war, which is a concept completely intertwined with human history and although – by definition – it entails armed violence, according to Aristotle, it becomes a “school of virtue” in the sense of defending the freedom of the Homeland and the preservation of ancestral altars and hearths.
He emphasised the importance of international humanitarian law in light of the rapid scientific and technological advances that have led to mass and total destruction through the use of nuclear or biological weapons, which make it absolutely necessary to develop legal restrictions on acts of war.
In addition, he made special reference to the principles of military necessity, proportionality, the distinction between fighters and civilians, as well as the protection of those who did not take part in armed conflict or were not involved in battle during such conflicts, noting the historical example of Alexander the Great who treated both his captives and relatives with generosity.
Finally, he referred to the enduring commitment of the Armed Forces in general in our country in conventional and customary rules of international law so as to defend National sovereignty and sovereign rights, since it constitutes the basis for safeguarding and promoting peace and stability at a regional level, and in particular in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.
The Handbook was initially presented by its authors, the Director of the General Staff of the NRDC-GR, Lieutenant Colonel Vassilios Karatzias and the Chiefs of Staff, Major Vassilios Zalidis and Captain Alexandros Lioutas, followed by presentations by:
- The Emeritus Professor of Panteion University and Dean of the Law School of the University of Naples Paphos, Mr. Stelios Perrakis.
- The Emeritus Professor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Mr. Konstantinos Hadjikonstantinou.
- The Professor of the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Mr. Fotini Pazartzi.
- The Professor of the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Mrs. Maria Gavouneli.
- The Associate Professor of the Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies of the University of Macedonia Mr. Nikolaos Zaikos.
- The Associate Professor of the Law Department of the Democritus University of Thrace Mr. Konstantinos Antonopoulos.
- The Associate Professor of the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Mr. Miltiadis Sarigiannidis.
- The Head of the Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Greece, Ms. Monica Zanarelli.
- The Director of the Legal Affairs Office of the Allied Command Operations of SHAPE Mr. Andrés B. Muñoz Mosquera.
- The Director of the Military Department of the Institute of International Humanitarian Law, Colonel Mark Dakers (UK).
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