High Contracting Parties of the IV Geneva Convention

December 16, 2014

The Israeli occupation of Palestine represents the oldest occupation in modern history and its persistence is encouraged by the inaction of the international community. In an effort to mobilize this community, and in the context of Israel’s lethal war against the defenseless civilian populations of Palestine, the Government of the State of Palestine requested that the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention convene. The request was accepted and the Conference is scheduled for December 17th, 2014.

What is the basis of this conference?

The Conference is to be viewed in the context of article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions which does not allow for any derogation from the law based on any military, security or national rationales. Under the Conventions, the High Contracting Parties undertake “to respect and to ensure respect” for the Conventions “in all circumstances.” It may also be viewed in the context of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the wall, delivered on 9 July 2004. In it, the International Court of Justice determined, explicitly, that “all the States party to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 are under an obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international humanitarian law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention.”

Who called for the conference?

The Conference was convened upon the request of the State of Palestine, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States on the 22 July 2014 as well as by recommendation of the Human Rights Council in resolution HRC/res/S-21/1 adopted during the Special session on 23 July 2014 and of the General Assembly in resolution 64/10 of 1 December 2009.

What will the conference entail?

The idea of the conference is to further a common understanding with regard to Israel’s continued non-compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, Additional Protocol 1, and customary international law in general, as well as to discuss practical measures for enforcement of the Convention and the protection of the Palestinian people.

“Respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law in general is essential to achieve a just and lasting peace. Of central relevance and priority in this regard is ensuring the protection of civilian persons in armed conflict, including in the prolonged situation of more than forty-seven years of Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land and oppression of the Palestinian people, whereby the occupying Power has egregiously and repeatedly breached its obligation to ensure the safety, well-being and protection of the Palestinian civilian population.”

(Extract from letter sent by the State of Palestine to all High Contracting Parties to the IV Geneva Convention)

What do we hope to benefit?

The State of Palestine hopes that this Conference will prompt states to abide by their obligations under the Conventions and work to end Israel’s systematic violations of international humanitarian law, its occupation of the State of Palestine, and its oppression of the Palestinian people.

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