“World’s First” Comprehensive International Weapons Law Course To Be Offered in Geneva

Gun Rights Advocates and Defense and Firearms Industry Legal Specialists Should Attend For Three Reasons

By Jeff Moran | Geneva

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights is now taking applications for the “world’s first comprehensive course on international weapons law.”  The course will take place 4-29 August 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, the home of international arms control advocacy and United Nations disarmament policy-making.  The application deadline is 15 May for those requiring visas and 30 June for those not requiring visas (e.g. Americans).

The course is a follow-up to the Academy’s launch of https://www.weaponslaw.org/ in November 2013 (an online encyclopedia of international weapons law) and the publication this spring of Weapons Under International Human Rights Law (Cambridge University Press, edited by the Academy’s Head of Research, Dr. Casey-Maslen).  Among other things, the timing and content of the course indicates greater perceived momentum and/or motivation among policy development/advocacy networks for conventional weapons (especially small arms) to move higher up the post-Arms Trade Treaty international agenda.

The course will involve interactive lectures and practical exercises and will be facilitated by international experts with experience in legal and advocacy work on, for example, weapons bans and small arms trade controls.  The intended audience is experienced human rights advocates, staff of non-governmental organizations, and national human rights institutions, representatives of governments, disarmament diplomats, and staff of UN bodies and other international organizations as well as academia.

Participants may take one or more of the following one-week modules:

Module 1 | International Law of Law Enforcement |4-8 August

Module 2 | International Law of Armed Conflict | 11-15 August

Module 3 | Disarmament Law | 11-22 August

Module 4 | Small Arms and Light Weapons Control | 25-29 August

Pro-gun rights organizations and industry stakeholders should consider submitting an application to attend for three reasons:

First, traditional domestic legislature-centric advocacy approaches are decreasingly sufficient and this course can ramp up enhanced international engagement and policy advocacy.  Why is this important?  The reality is that, through the vagaries of 21st century international lawmaking, the internationalization of domestic law, and the rise of international organizations as supranational lawmakers, foreign and unpopular norms/standards/rules can be downloaded domestically and put into binding legal effect with less public debate or legislative action.[*]  And this, ultimately, could result in adverse if not excessively burdensome, arbitrary, and capricious legal obligations affecting a range of businesses as well as private individuals.

Second, this course will introduce the progressive “Geneva” view on the ever evolving international legal environment and the frameworks affecting such things as the manufacturing, distribution, possession, and use of various weapons.  Armed with this knowledge, pro-gun civil society groups and industry stakeholders could more skillfully estimate the international legal risks to their interests and develop better market and non-market strategies going forward.

Third, this course will help attendees learn more about the people, processes, and organizations behind the frameworks other stakeholders might argue are implicitly anti-competitive, corrosive to the American constitutional protections of the civil/individual/human right to armed self-defense, and/or are contrary to the legal principle of national sovereignty.  Better knowing how people, process, and organizations work together in the international weapons law domain is the first step toward gaining greater influence.

A flyer about the course and the application process can be downloaded here.  Individuals who are seriously considering applying to this course are welcome to contact TSM Worldwide LLC for free feedback and insight about Geneva and the Geneva Academy.


[*] A primer on 21st century international lawmaking is available here.  Detailed discussions of international organizations as lawmakers and the internationalization of US law are available here and here respectively.

About The Author

Jeff Moran lives in Geneva, Switzerland and is a consultant specializing in the ethical and responsible development of the international defense, security, and shooting sports industries at TSM Worldwide LLC.  Previously Mr. Moran was a strategic marketing leader for a multi-billion dollar business unit of a public defense & aerospace company and an American military diplomat.  He is currently studying weapons law and lawmaking process within the Executive LL.M. Program of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.  Mr. Moran has an Executive Master in International Negotiations and Policymaking from the Graduate Institute of Geneva, an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, and a BSFS from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

First Published: 12 May 2014

Last Updated: 12 May 2014


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