In order to secure the guarantees afforded to the victims of armed conflicts, Article 90 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (AP I) provides for the establishment of an International Fact-Finding Commission. The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) was subsequently established in 1991. It is a permanent body of 15 independent experts, acting in their personal capacity, elected by the States having made a declaration of recognition under Article 90 of AP I. The Commission's essential purpose is to contribute to implement and ensure respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in armed conflict situations.
The Commission fulfills its mandate notably by:
· Enquiring into any facts alleged to be grave breaches or serious violations of IHL.
· Facilitating through its good offices the restoration of an attitude of respect for the Conventions and AP I.
· Reporting its findings to the States involved and making such recommendations as it deems appropriate.
In the fulfillment of its mandate, the Commission observes the principles of neutrality, independence, impartiality, and confidentiality.
In its capacity as the depositary of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, Switzerland runs the Secretariat of the Commission.
Each State which has recognized the competence of the Commission has the right to refer for investigation situations of armed conflict to the Commission on condition that all Parties involved have equally recognized the Commission's competence. A State Party to the First Additional Protocol may make a comprehensive declaration, thereby recognizing the Commission's competence, or it may consent to an investigation into the facts of a particular dispute. A comprehensive declaration can be made at any time.
Today, 76 States have made a comprehensive declaration under Article 90.
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
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IHFFC International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission
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