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When my dear friend and colleague Suzannah Linton first approached me with her suggestion to mark the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, I was immediately enthusiastic. A collection of essays reflecting Asia-Pacific perspectives on international humanitarian law (IHL) with contributors from around the region is both novel and timely. Suzannah, Sandesh and I are all sensitive to the dominance of Western European and North American voices in the academic literature on IHL (at least the academic literature published in English) despite the reality that this particular geographic region has endured many catalytic calamities – that unique combination of tragedy that provides impetus to multilateral norm creation. I will return to that topic with specific examples, but Suzannah’s concept offered an opportunity to begin to redress the relative paucity of contributions from this region.
His Excellency Judge Raul Pangalangan currently serves as a judge of the International Criminal Court – the first Filipino national to hold that position. Judge Pangalangan is a Professor of Law and former Dean of the University of the Philippines Law School and he specialises in Constitutional Law and Public International Law. He was educated at the University of the Philippines (AB cum laude and LLB) and at Harvard University (LLM and SJD). He has taught at the Hague Academy of International Law and as Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, Melbourne Law School and Hong Kong University, and has lectured at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Japanese Society of International Law, Thessaloniki Institute of International Public Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Judge Pangalangan was a member of the Philippine delegation to the Diplomatic Conference to negotiate the Rome Statute to establish the International Criminal Court.
The Right Honourable Sir Kenneth James Keith ONZ, KBE recently completed his term as the first permanent judge of the International Court of Justice from New Zealand. He has enjoyed a distinguished and varied career as an academic, government lawyer and judge. Sir Kenneth was a faculty member of Victoria University Wellington Law School from 1962 to 1964 and from 1966 to 1991. He served in the New Zealand Department of External Affairs in the 1960s, as a member of the UN Secretariat from 1968 to 1970, as Director of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and as President of the New Zealand Law Commission. From 1996 to 2003, Sir Kenneth was a Judge of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand and a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He was subsequently one of the inaugural appointments to the new Supreme Court of New Zealand following the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council. Sir Kenneth was a member of the New Zealand delegation to the 1974–1977 Diplomatic Conference to negotiate the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions. Tim McCormack interviewed him in Wellington, New Zealand in July 2018.