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Promoting respect for IHL by NGOs: The case of ALMA – Association for the Promotion of IHL

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 July 2015


ALMA – Association for the Promotion of International Humanitarian Law is an Israeli-originated non-governmental organization. ALMA was established with the prime objective of promoting knowledge, understanding and discussion of IHL. For that purpose, it has established several projects aimed at different audiences and with different goals. Since its establishment in March 2010, ALMA has managed to make its way to the front line through cooperation and dedication. This article provides an overview of ALMA's goals and projects, as well as its challenges and future aspirations in the quest to generate respect for international humanitarian law.

Integrating and implementing the law – the mandate and role of different actors
Copyright © icrc 2015 

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1 The name ALMA is a Hebrew acronym for Association for the Promotion of International Humanitarian Law.

2 Ms Tom Gal is a PhD candidate at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and Geneva UN Representative for the World Jewish Congress.

3 The other founding members of ALMA are Ms Hila Adler, Ms Yfat Barak-Chaney, Ms Yael Rimer-Cohen, Ms Carmel Shenkar, Ms Yael Vias-Grisman, Ms Sigall Horovitz and Mr Ady Niv. Information about ALMA members is available at: (all internet references were accessed in December 2014).

4 Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, UN Doc. A/HRC/12/48, 25 September 2009 (Goldstone Report), available at:

5 Information on other projects such as the ALMA newsletter and a national competition on international criminal law can be found on the ALMA website, available at:

6 For more information, see the Joint IHL Forum website, available at:

7 The list of past speakers who have appeared at the forum and the relevant topics can be found on the Joint IHL Forum website, ibid.

8 For example, in the opening session of the 2014–2015 academic year, the forum hosted the distinguished Professor Malcolm Shaw, who discussed the topic of “Combatant Immunity for State Forces in Non-International Armed Conflicts”; see Shani Dann and Ido Rosenzweig, “Joint IHL Forum”, October 2014, available at: In the May 2014 session, Professor Robbie Sabel and Advocate Keren Michaeli addressed “The Palestinian Accession to IHL Treaties”; see Ido Rosenzweig, “Joint IHL Forum”, May 2014, available at: In April 2014, Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Dr Daphne Richemond-Barak and Dr Ziv Bohrer presented their views on “The Crimean Peninsula and IHL”; see Ido Rosenzweig, “Joint IHL Forum”, April 2014, available at:

9 The Young Researchers Project is headed by Ms Yfat Barak-Chaney. For more information, see Yfat Barak-Cheney and Ido Rosenzweig, “The Young Researchers Forum”, March 2014, available at:

10 See ibid. The four papers presented were: Noa Bornstein-Ziv, “Extradition Laws in the Face of the Expanding World Terrorism” (respondent: Advocate Vadim Shuv, Deputy Public Defender in Jerusalem); Adi Swisa, “Disclosure in the Rome Statute and in Practice” (respondent: Advocate Yael Vias Gvirsman, ALMA member and International Criminal Court Defence Counsel); Advocate Adam Wolfson, “The Prohibition on the Exportation of Indiscriminate Weapons to Terrorist Organizations in International Law” (respondent: Advocate Liron Libman, former head of the IDF International Law Department); and Ilia Binyaminov, “Obama's Drone Doctrine: International Lawyer or Legislator?” (respondent: Advocate Tal Mimran, a researcher from the Israel Democracy Institute). The forum session was successful and the comments that the researchers received from the respondents provided valuable input. Each completed article was submitted to a peer-reviewed Shaárei Mishpat College of Law journal. Currently, the YRP is being assessed following its first year in order to analyze the added value of the project and decide when the second YRP will take place.

11 Noam Zamir, “Classification of the Syrian Conflict: A Question of Organization?”, 27 September 2012, available at: (Hebrew).

12 Eitan Diamond, “Lawful Conduct in Urban Warfare”, Jerusalem Post, 1 March 2012, available at:

13 Ido Rosenzweig, “Pillar of Defense and IHL: Targeted Killings, Military Objectives, Proportionality etc.”, 10 February 2013, available at:

14 Shavit Rissin, “HaKiria as a Ticking Bomb: Legal and Functional Aspects”, available at: (Hebrew).

15 English op-eds available at:; Hebrew op-eds available at:

16 Teaching articles available at:

17 The 2014 National IHL Competition for Students project was headed by Ms Katja Knochelmann. For more information, see “National IHL Competition for Students”, available at:

18 Named after the first head of communications of the ICRC in Israel, who contributed greatly to the promotion of IHL in Israel, particularly among the media and the military.

19 The IDC Herzliya teams were trained and coached by the author of this paper.

20 In the Jean-Pictet Competition, coaches are not allowed to attend and the tutors provided on behalf of the competition are only allowed to comment on the performance of the teams, not on “substantive issues relating to the case study or on issues pertaining to law in general” (see the competition regulations, available at: On several previous occasions, the Israel National IHL Competition has also been conducted under similar limitations.

21 The 8th National IHL Competition took place on 17–20 November 2014. For more information, see “8th National Competition on IHL (November 2014)”, available at:

22 The IHL Scavenger Hunt was composed of three daily riddles, an activity and a final riddle. During the first three days of the competition, the participants received a daily riddle (a word search, a maze and a crossword puzzle) related to IHL. The solution of each daily riddle led to a location and a code. With the right code at the right location, each team that had solved the daily riddle received a clue for the final riddle. On the fourth day, after the announcement of the finalists' teams and the end of the preliminary rounds of the competition, the teams received their task sheets. Any team completing the relevant tasks received the fourth clue for the final riddle and was able to solve it and win the game.

23 Available at:

24 Available at:

25 See Anne Sapir and Moien Odeh, “Upcoming IHL Events”, available at:

26 The project is headed by Mr Ady Niv. For more information, see “Rome Statute Translation Project”, available at:

27 Lexicon in Hebrew available at: