New respect for old rules: Turning traditional rules of warfare into modern law in PNG’s highlands

Date & time

4.15–5.15pm Thursday 26 July 2018


Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University


Ahmad Hallak Deputy Head of Mission Papua New Guinea, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


Nicole Harman

Presented by the Centre for International & Public Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross

Public lecture
Event image

Last month, 36 councillors from the Western Highlands Province of PNG signed agreements to respect and implement 15 traditional rules of fighting, transforming these documents in local Government laws.

The laws are drawn from traditional rules of warfare in the Highlands and mirror fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. They include prohibitions against the destruction of public infrastructure and the targeting of civilians or neutral tribes, and call for respect for women, children and health-care providers. The signing ceremony marked the culmination of over 18 months of discussions between tribal leaders and provincial authorities, facilitated by the ICRC’s Mission in PNG.

The ICRC is now working in different stages to replicate this success in other provinces. 


  • Ahmad Hallak »

    Ahmad Hallak is Deputy Head of Mission Papua New Guinea, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Ahmad has a background in finance and business, and has worked with the ICRC since 2011 in Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Thailand and South Sudan. He took up his current position at the PNG Mission, based in Port Moresby, in April 2018. 

  • Bal Kama »

    Bal Kama is a PhD Candidate at the ANU College of Law and a sessional lecturer and unit convenor at the University of Canberra Faculty of Business, Government and Law. His thesis is on the relationship between the judiciary and the parliament in Papua New Guinea.

    Prior to undertaking his PhD studies, Bal was engaged as a consultant with the United Nations Women (PNG) to assist in designing an action plan for the United Nations Gender Task Team (UNGTT) in response to sorcery related violence in Papua New Guinea.

    Bal represented PNG at the 2016 One Young World meeting in Canada and was nominated as one of the 17 Young Leaders leading the 17 UN SDGs. He is a recipient of the Commonwealth Pacific Young Person of the Year award (UK), which gave him the privilege to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in England. Bal was the Pacific representative at the 2017 UNLeash Global Talent in Denmark and is the Director of the Kama Foundation, a community NGO operating in remote PNG villages.

    Bal writes for Australia's leading international think tanks and occasionally comments in the media on issues in the Pacific region including bilateral engagements with regional partners. Bal is a founding member of the Commonwealth Youth Health Network (CYHN) at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London and a recipient of the University of Canberra Distinguished Alumni Commendation Award in recognition of his contribution to the community.

Research theme: 



Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team