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A Word from the President

Gisela Perren - KlinglerViolations of the law applicable in armed conflict occur, alas, in many conflicts throughout the world. Yet, the international community has never accepted this as a fact which cannot be changed. It has designed a number of institutions and procedures for ensuring the respect for, and faithful implementation of, international humanitarian law. The International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission is one of these institutions. The idea behind its creation is that ascertaining controversial facts where there are mutual allegations and denials of violations constitutes a useful, even necessary tool for re-establishing respect for international humanitarian law.

The legal basis for the Commission's existence is Article 90 of the First Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions. When the Protocol was adopted in 1977, a number of safeguards for State sovereignty were built into the text, in particular that only a State having agreed by declaration to recognise the competence of the Commission can unilaterally request an inquiry, and only against another State having made the same declaration. So far, 76 States have made that declaration: about half of the parties to Protocol I and more than a third of the parties to the Geneva Conventions. But in addition, the Commission may offer its good offices in order to re-establish a situation of respect for international humanitarian law. This gives the Commission an active role in the settlement of disputes concerning the respect of international humanitarian law - which the Commission uses.

The Commission is well positioned in the international community. It enjoys the support of the United Nations, expressed in a number of General Assembly resolutions, of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent movement as well as of intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.

The Commission has a specific profile. It is composed of fifteen personalities elected as individuals by the States having recognised its competence. They are diplomats, military officers, medical doctors and academic specialists in international humanitarian law from four continents. It is an impartial body which has no political agenda of its own. It is not related to the Security Council with its enforcement powers (unless the Security Council decides to have recourse to the services of the Commission) nor to the International Criminal Court with its powers to initiate a criminal prosecution. Its approach to fact-finding is co-operative. It will assist the parties to a conflict to redress a situation where international humanitarian law may have been violated, and thus help to promote the rule of law in international relations and create conditions conducive to peace.

Dr. Gisela Perren - Klingler
President

 
 
 

News from the IHFFC

Diplomatic Meeting of 8 December 2016, Bern - Election of the 15 members of the IHFFC and amendments of the Financial Procedures  [08/12/2016]
At the invitation of Switzerland, the depositary state of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, the fifth diplomatic meeting was held in Bern on 8 December 2016, during which the members of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission were elected. The 76 States Parties to the first Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Convention accepting the competence of the Commission were entitled to participate in this election.
68 States took part in the meeting under the chairmanship of Ambassador JŘrg Lindenmann Deputy Director of the Directorate of International Law DIL of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA and the vice-chairmanship of H.E Ambassador Antonio Trombetta, Ambassador of Argentina in Bern.

After the first ballot the following candidates were elected (in the alphabetical order of their state of origin):

Mr RACHID BELHADJ, Algeria
Mr MARIO J.A. OYARZ┴BAL, Argentina
Mr ALFREDO LABB╔, Chile
Mr THILO MARAUHN, Germany
Mr STELIOS PERRAKIS, Greece
Mrs R╔KA VARGA, Hungary
Mr SHUICHI FURUYA, Japan
Mr JUSTINAS ÄILINSKAS, Lithuania
Mrs ELŻBIETA MIKOS-SKUZA, Poland
Mr ABDULLA RASHID S. A. AL-NAIMI, Qatar
Mr FRANCISCO REY MARCOS, Spain
Mrs ┼SA MOLDE, Sweden
Mrs LAURENCE BOILLAT, Switzerland
Mr MOHAMED MAHMOUD AL KAMALI, United Arab Emirates
Mr ROBIN M C MCNEILL LOVE, United Kingdom

For the final results containing the number of votes obtained by the elected candidates including the absolute majority and the list of participants, please click here.
The newly-formed Commission was elected for a term of office of five years and will enter into function at its first annual meeting planned to take place on 20-22 February 2017 in Geneva.
During this diplomatic meeting, the 68 participating States have also unanimously adopted amendments of the Financial Procedures proposed by the Depositary. To consult these amendments, please click here.

Documents:

Final Results (First Ballot incl. absolute majority)
List of participants
6th Committee UN General Assembly, New York [21/10/2016]
Statement before the 6th Committee UN General Assembly, New York, October 7th 2016
 
 
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