The International Society for Military Law and the Law of War is an international non-profit and non-political association under Belgian law. The Society was created in Strasbourg (France) in 1956 and has had its seat as well as its General Secretariat in Brussels (Belgium) since 1988.
The Society‘s statutory aim is to study and disseminate international humanitarian law, military law and the law of peace operations. To this end, the Society organizes Congresses, Seminars and other events in various countries.
The Society counts approximately 700 members worldwide, among whom many military and civilian legal advisors, judges and prosecutors. The academic community is also well represented in the Society’s membership. The International Society is also an umbrella organization for 22 so-called National Groups; these are separate and independent entities, which organize their own national activities, pursuant to the same objective as the International Society.
The activities of the Society are open to members and non-members. Under the auspices of the Society, the Military Law and the Law of War Review and the Recueil are published.
The Society’s members, convened in the General Assembly, form the highest authority within the Society. A Board of Directors, responsible for major and strategic decisions, and a Managing Board, for management of current affairs, govern the Society. At present, the President of the Society is Professor Dr. Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg. Professor Dr. Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg holds the Chair of Public Law, especially Public International law, European Law and Foreign Constitutional Law at the Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.
The current Secretary-General is Mr Ludwig Van Der Veken. He is also the Secretary-General of the Belgian Ministry of Defence.
The Society has held consultative status with the United Nations since 1997.