The Faculty of Law (UP Law) at the University of Pretoria (UP) announces with great pride that Adv Vaughn Rossouw, an LLB UP Law alumnus and LLM candidate in Public International Law at UP Law has achieved the almost unimaginable. Currently a final-year postgraduate student in the programme LLM International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Military Operations, Rossouw developed an article for the International Review of the Red Cross (IRRC) for its ‘Emerging Voices in International Humanitarian Law, Policy and Action’ edition on ‘... Or any other similar criteria: Towards advancing the protection of LGBTQI detainees against discrimination and sexual and gender-based violence during Non-International Armed Conflict’. Rossouw’s article was unanimously accepted by the jury selection panel of the "Emerging voices in IHL" Edition. Rossouw recently received the good news that his article will be published in due course.
The IRRC held a global call for papers in the beginning of 2021 for aspirant IHL practitioners and policy makers to develop high quality publications. Rossouw’s article focuses on the legal interpretation of "...or any other similar criteria" as contained in Common Article 3 to the four Geneva Conventions, which prohibits adverse distinction in the application of Common Article 3 as the sole treaty based provision regulating all non-international armed conflict.
Rossouw interprets ‘... Or any other similar criteria …’ through the modes of the General rules of treaty interpretation as contained in Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, in order to qualify sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of adverse distinction in the application of Common Article 3, since sexual orientation and gender identity is not explicitly made prohibited grounds of adverse distinction under IHL.
Discrimination and SGBV against LGBTQI individuals is a growing concern, especially in States grappled with armed conflict. This issue is especially prevalent in detention settings, where LGBTQI individuals are specifically at risk for being at the mercy of specific Detaining Powers, or armed non-State actors exercising de facto authority over certain territories during NIAC.
This issue is exacerbated in States where non-conforming sexual orientation or gender identity is criminalised. I am currently a final year postgraduate in the program LLM International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Military Operations.
According to Rossouw, the Postgraduate Programme on LLM International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Military Operations ‘has greatly shaped my knowledge of contemporary issues in International Humanitarian Law. I share this success with UP's exceptional experts in the field of International Law, and specifically IHL, and of course a special shout-out to my study supervisor, Dr Martha Bradley for her invaluable insight, guidance and support throughout this work.’
In her reaction to this good news, Rossouw’s proud LLM supervisor, Dr Martha Bradley in the Department of Public Law, stated that ‘This is an incredible accomplishment! I could not be prouder of Vaughn to be included in the emerging voices section of this highly esteemed journal, especially as this is a leading journal in our discipline. I am so proud to be Vaughn’s supervisor.’
Recently Rossouw was also recognised at UP Law’s Recognition of Achievement Function for his outstanding performance in Professor Dire Tladi’s and my LLM course.’