Respect for international humanitarian law in Europe


Doc. 7669

27 September 1996



presented by Mrs AGUIAR and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.         The purpose of international humanitarian law is to limit the suffering of the victims of armed conflicts, both international and internal.

2.         The conflicts that broke out in Europe in the late 1980s and in the 1990s, such as the wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in Georgia, in certain countries of former Yugoslavia and in Chechnya, have been accompanied by grave violations of humanitarian law.  There has also been the horrifying spectacle of the deliberate use of violence against civilian populations, including women and children.  The sad result is that Europe still needs the protection offered by humanitarian law.

3.         It is essential to promulgate humanitarian law as widely as possible and ensure that it is respected.  For their part, parliamentarians must take steps to ensure that its provisions, many of which are not directly enforceable, are incorporated into national legislation. 

4.         The Assembly welcomes the Colloquy on International Humanitarian Law organised in Prague in March 1996 by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, in co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and considers that the results of this colloquy can make a useful contribution to the drafting of an Assembly report on this subject.

5.         The Assembly therefore asks member states to:

-           adhere strictly to the provisions of international humanitarian law in the event of armed conflict, whether international or internal;

-           incorporate these provisions into their national legislation;

-           promulgate international humanitarian law, particularly among armed bodies;

-           allow the ICRC to perform its activities within their territory, in accordance with its mandate;

-           prosecute all those who have violated humanitarian law.

Signed: [1]

Aguiar, Portugal, LDR

Beaufays, Belgium, EPP

Brasseur, Luxembourg, LDR

Clerfayt, Belgium, LDR

Fehr, Switzerland, LDR

Filimonov, Russia, UEL

Golu, Romania, SOC

Gotzev, Bulgaria, EPP

Jacquat, France, EPP

Kalus, Czech Republic, EDG

Kara_, Poland, LDR

Kukk, Estonia, EPP

Laakso, Finland, UEL

Landsbergis, Lithuania, EDG

Luís, Portugal, SOC

Stepanov, Ukraine, UEL

Suhov, Romania, EPP

[1].           SOC : Socialist Group

                EPP : Group of the European People's Party

                EDG : European Democratic Group

                LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers Group

                UEL : Group of the Unified European Left