Kathy Garms participated in the May 2013 “Emir Abdelkader and the International Humanitarian Law” Conference in Algiers sponsored by Algerian Ministries of Defense and Justice, Emir Abdelkader Foundation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Algerian Red Crescent. The 3-day event marked the 150th anniversary of the ICRC, the 130th anniversary of the death of Emir Abdelkader, and the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence and recognition of the Algerian Red Crescent.

Academics and specialists from Algeria, Morocco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom discussed Emir Abdelkader’s contribution to modern humanitarian law and issues involved in ensuring compliance. The conference increased historical knowledge regarding the humanitarian ideas of Emir Abdelkader and the codification of International Humanitarian Law, and raised awareness of challenges and opportunities related to protecting the victims of armed conflict.

As Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross commented, “Emir Abdelkader is the “undisputed” leader in the codification of modern international humanitarian law,” and cited Abdelkader’s courageous intervention for the protection of Christians in Damascus in 1860. Maurer continued, “The contribution of Emir Abdelkader to the promotion of modern humanitarian action has been significant, as not only, he has been an undisputed leader of this action’s fundamental principles … he also managed to use military, diplomatic and political competences for its application.”