European Perspectives Field Study - I SC 132 visits the main Swiss institutions in Geneva and in Bern
Ambassador Christian Dussey, Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GSCP) welcomed SC 132 and explained the role of the organization and its contribution to world security. Collaboration is always fostered by the GSCP and its main objective is to bring together military and civilian officials from many different countries.
Colonel Buhlmann, then explained why Geneva is called international Geneva. It was a resort for intellectuals from all over Europe in the 18th century. Later, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was created, and ICRC actions during WW1 were directed from Geneva. Many sensitive negotiations took place here and the city has been chosen to host many international organizations because of its international spirit and its dedication to peace and stability.
The representative from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) Mr Gianluca Maspoli, explained the dangers of land mines and the impact they have in the world, including on a nation’s development. Then, he addressed the five pillars of action taken against mines and referred to the international humanitarian law on mines. He emphasized the importance of the Anti- Personnel Mines Ban convention (1997) as a great achievement for mankind.
Afterwards, Ms Thammy Evans introduced the centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). She briefed SC 132 on the importance of DCAF and explained how it deals with Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Security Sector Governance (GSG).
The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) was introduced by Colonel Buhlmann, who also explained how the GCSP works in the areas of peace, security and stability. It offers various courses to different levels of participant. Their publications can be found on their website. Currently, the GCSP is a strategic-level training centre which brings together many different people from all over world. Among its activities, it organizes high-level conferences and discussions on sensitive and controversial issues pertaining to the world’s security concerns.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was introduced by Ms Rikke Ishoy, who emphasized that the ICRC has a mandate to work in areas of armed conflict and other violent situations. She described it as a Neutral, Independent, and Impartial Humanitarian Actor (NIIHA). She also talked about the humanitarian consequences of armed conflict and the operational challenges that the ICRC faces. Finally, she talked about cooperation between the ICRC and NATO, which started during NATO’s operations in the Balkans and continued later in Afghanistan.
LtGen Philippe Rebord, Chief of the Swiss armed forces, welcomed SC 132 and talked about the role of the forces and the reforms to adapt to the new security challenges.
HE Ambassador Frank Grütter, then discussed Swiss security policy and priorities. He explained the concept of neutrality that applies to Swiss policy and how this evolved historically. Mr Bruno Rösli, representative of the Swiss MOD, gave a briefing on the specifically Swiss features which shape its security policy, referring also to the threats and dangers that Swiss security policy is targeting.
Brigadier General Germaine Seewer, later gave a lecture about some specific aspects of the Swiss armed forces, such as conscription and compulsory military service.
In the afternoon, SC 132 visited the Swiss parliament. There, they met with parliamentarians, namely Senator Joseph DIittli - Head of the Security Policy Committee, Prof Dr Daniel Jositsch and Mrs Ida Glanzmann-Hunkeler, who discussed security and foreign policy issues with Course Members.