The Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 17 December 2014 and the duty to ensure respect for international humanitarian law

While international humanitarian law envisages the possibility of holding formal thematic discussions, only United Nations General Assembly resolutions prompted the depositary of the Geneva Conventions to consult the High Contracting Parties on  the opportuneness of conflict-specific conferences. Recalling the precedents of 1999 and 2001 – convened on the basis of the support expressed by the States Parties during related consultations – this article focuses on the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 17 December 2014, which is likewise related to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The result of the conference consists of a declaration reflecting the willingness of the States Parties to further implement Article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions.

Keywords: common Article 1, depositary, Conference of High Contracting Parties, Israel, Palestine, Occupied Palestinian Territory, protection of civilians.

About the authors

Matthias Lanz
Deputy Head

Matthias Lanz, MLaw (Zurich)/LLM (Cambridge), is a Deputy Head of Section with the Directorate for International Law of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Emilie Max
Legal officer

Emilie Max, BLaw (Geneva)/MA (SOAS)/LLM (Geneva Academy), is a Legal Officer with the same Directorate.

Oliver Hoehne

Oliver Hoehne, MA (IHEID)/MSc (LSE), is a Diplomat with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in Geneva.