Thursday, April 24, 2008

On April 24

On this day in ...
... 1955, the Bandung Conference of 29 countries, mostly from Asia and North Africa, ended. Leaders who met in Bandung, Indonesia, included India's Jawaharlal Nehru, and Burma's U Nu, pictured at left, as well as Pakistan's Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Lebanon's Charles Malik, China's Chou En-Lai, and Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser. Topics discussed included "colonialism, economic and cultural cooperation, the legitimacy of defense pacts such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), and the viability of peaceful coexistence." The conference paved the way 6 years later for a conference among Non-Aligned Nations.
... 1863 (145 years ago today), in the midst of the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln promulgated Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, known as the Lieber Code in recognition of its principal drafter, Columbia Law Professor Francis Lieber (right), who'd fought in the Franco-Prussian War before emigrating and whose sons fought on both sides of America's War Between the States. The significance of this document is noted by no less an authority than the International Committee of the Red Cross:

Although they were binding only on the forces of the United States, they correspond to a great extend to the laws and customs of war existing at that time. The "Lieber Instructions" strongly influenced the further codification of the laws of war and the adoption of similar regulations by other states. They formed the origin of the project of an international convention on the laws of war presented to the Brussels Conference in 1874 and stimulated the adoption of the Hague Conventions on land warfare of 1899 and 1907.

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