The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) today release
“Ensuring Respect for the Fourth Geneva
Convention: Convening a Conference of High Contracting Parties”.
report details the legal situation regarding the convening of a conference of
High Contracting Parties, as well as the enforcement mechanisms available to
the international community.
On 5 November 2009, the General Assembly of the United
Nations adopted Resolution A/Res/64/10. This Resolution recommends that
Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the Geneva Convention relative to
the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, undertake as soon as
possible the steps necessary to reconvene a Conference of High Contracting
Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention with the aim of enforcing the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
including East Jerusalem, and ensuring
its respect in accordance with common article 1.
This recommendation was made in light of the Goldstone Report
and consequent to the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in
the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt); the recommendation was subsequently
endorsed by the Human Rights Council in March 2010. Within both resolutions
there is an implicit call for specific, concrete measures, as is evident both
through the wording of the resolution – ‘measures to enforce’, ‘ensure its
respect’ – and the reference to the powers inherent in common Article 1.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has prepared
this memorandum in order to briefly illustrate the legal situation surrounding
the convening of a Conference of the High Contracting Parties, and to make
specific recommendations regarding the legal mechanisms available to High
Contracting Parties as they fulfil their obligation to enforce, and ensure
respect for, the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The convening of a conference of the High Contracting
Parties offers a rare opportunity to develop international humanitarian law,
and to ensure that it remains capable of serving the civilian populations it is
mandated to protect.
It is imperative that the proposed conference be held, and
that it results in practical measures intended to ensure Israel’s compliance
with international humanitarian law.
PCHR has previously released several Memoranda addressed to
the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions stressing the
deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the oPt and calling for the
convening of a conference on the enforcement of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Implementation not Impunity: International Humanitarian Law
Still Not Being Applied to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, " Memorandum
to the High Contracting Parties One Year After the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the
West Bank Annexation Wall" (2005).