The International Society of Social Defence was founded in the aftermath of the Second World War. Its aim was to provide scientific answers – at the international level – to problems linked to criminality and its prevention by means of social analysis and a humane criminal policy. Through the subject it has chosen for its Fifteenth international Congress, the Society is once again bringing into the limelight of the international scene a very important and hitherto little discussed issue. Within the framework of this general topic, the Congress will be dealing with specific subjects which can be summed up as follows:
1. The modernisation of military criminal justice, giving particular emphasis to the input of the European and Inter-American Courts of Human Rights, including the evolution of the death penalty. The tensions and setbacks resulting from the rising number of conflicts and from the political and judicial debate over the "war against terror" will also be dealt with.
2. The criminal law framework applicable to military interventions abroad, especially as regards the basis and consequences, from a criminal law standpoint, of Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) and Rules of Engagement (ROE), as well as the ability of military forces abroad to perform criminal investigations.
3. Peace as a value that must be protected also through criminal law. The attention will focus on the definition of the crime of aggression on a national and international scale and particularly in relation to the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
4. Review of the most serious violations of fundamental rights which have occurred during recent conflicts, such as the loss of freedom prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and the international treaties against torture.
5. In order to adequately safeguard peace and to combat the evils of war, it is necessary to provide the public with correct information. For this reason, attention will be given to international tools for the protection under criminal law of journalists and means of mass communication in war-torn areas.
6. The list of threats to peace which involve a criminal law dimension is inexhaustible and includes various other issues, such as the violations of international rules on nuclear weapons or the protection of systems and strategic data bases from attacks.
The Society wishes to contribute – with the subject it has chosen for its 15th Congress – to the development of International Criminal Law, to the prevention of conflicts and to the creation of a global ethical approach.
Luis Arroyo Zapatero
Edmondo Bruti Liberati
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