1. Constitutional structure and position of IHL in domestic law
Argentina is a federal republic. Its Constitution dates back to 1853, although the text has been amended several times since then. The 1994 constitutional reform introduced a number of new institutions and gave new emphasis to human rights as enshrined in international human rights instruments.
The Constitution establishes a federal government with three branches with a bicameral legislature (Congreso).
The President is the head of State and is responsible for the general administration of the country. The Constitution gives the President the power not only to declare war but also to orders reprisals, with the authorization and approval of Congress (Art. 99, para. 15). According to Article 99, para. 11, the President concludes and signs treaties "required for the maintenance of good relations with international organizations and foreign nations", which then have to be approved, or rejected, by the Congress (Art. 75, para. 22). Treaties and concordats have greater force than laws, and certain treaties approved by the Congress may even be placed on the same level as the Constitution after two thirds of all the members of each Chamber have voted in favour (Art. 75, para. 22). An exemple of this is the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons (Law 24.556, Boletin Oficial 18 October 1995).
In addition, the Congress has the power to determine, by a special law, where trials are to take place in the case of crimes committed outside the national borders in violation of international law (Art. 118). The first law on the extradition of foreigners was enacted in Argentina in 1885 and was replaced by the 1997 extradition law.
Each Province is responsible for its own administration of justice and its municipal system, but may not enter into partial treaties of a political nature (Art.126). Provinces are prohibited by the Constitution from declaring or waging war against each other. Their complaints must be submitted to the Supreme Court of Justice. De facto hostilities among them are considered acts of civil war, characterized as sedition or rebellion, which the federal government must put down and punish in accordance with the law (Art. 127).
Argentina ratified the four Geneva Conventions on 18 September 1956 and Additional Protocols I and II on 26 November 1986 (Law No. 23.379 published in the Boletín Oficial on 9 June 1988). Argentina accepted the competence of the International Fact-Finding Commission under Article 90 of Protocol I on 11 October 1996.
2. Implementing institutions
Decree 933/94 sets up a Committee for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law, which is responsible for drawing up and submitting to the government laws, regulations and other texts designed to promote respect for humanitarian law and to ensure that members of the military and civilians are aware of and taught the rules of this law. The Committee includes representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, Defence, the Interior and Justice. Its secretariat is run by the Ministry of Defence.
The internal rules of the Committee, adopted on 29 December 1994, regulate the working procedures, the place and frequency of its meetings and the role of the secretariat.
J. A. BURNEO LABRIN, "Le crime contre l'humanité et le crime de génocide: généalogie et étude de deux cas emblématiques lation-américains", Actualité du droit international humanitaire, Les dossiers de la Revue de droit pénal et de criminologie, No. 6, 2001, pp. 43-71.
M. A. EKMEKDJIAN, "Comentarios de la reforma constitucional de 1994", Depalma, Buenos Aires, 117.