I just returned from a week in Riga, Latvia, where I participated in the International
Society for Military Law and the Law of War’s 8th Seminar for Legal Advisers. Thirty-five nations (including Australia, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Norway, Belgium, South Korea, Thailand, and Brazil, to name a few) sent representatives, some of whom traveled for several days just to reach the seminar. Our travel time was rewarded with informative lectures by eminent scholars in the field who addressed the “Responsibilities of Commanders and Legal Advisers in International Operations.” They covered piracy, international humanitarian law, dealing with contractors on the battlefield, and host-nation and multi-national cooperation in such operations. Break-out sessions with case studies of current-day issues facing military commanders and their legal advisers reinforced the concepts and the fact that even the experts disagree as to the proper way to resolve certain situations under international law.
Our Latvian hosts ensured that we left Latvia with an understanding of its rich history and photos of some its cultural treasures.