Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 157th session
(Bucharest, 14 October 1995)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Having taken note of the report of the Committee to promote respect for international humanitarian law, drawn up by that body at the close of its first meeting (Bucharest, 13 October 1995),

Bearing in mind the resolution of the 90th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (September 1993) on respect for international humanitarian law and support for humanitarian action in armed conflicts, and the resolution of the 93rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference (April 1995) on the international community in the face of the challenges posed by calamities arising from armed conflicts and by natural or man-made disasters, as well as recommendations 11, 12 and 16 of the special session held by the Inter-Parliamentary Council in New York (August/September 1995) on the parliamentary vision for international co-operation into the 21st century,

Considering that parliaments and their members can make a decisive contribution to ensuring respect for the rules of international humanitarian law, whether the armed conflict be international or non-international;

1. Takes note with interest of the Committee's report;

2. Urges all States which have not yet done so to adhere to the Geneva Conventions (1949) and to their Additional Protocols I and II (1977), the Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons (1980) and the Convention for the protection of cultural goods in the event of armed conflict (1954);

3. Encourages parliamentarians to make use of all the procedures at their disposal, including questions to the Government and instigating debate within Parliament, to:

(i) Make governments aware of the urgent need to become parties to all the above instruments when ratification or adhesion has not yet taken place or to notify the depository of succession;

(ii) Promote periodical review of any reservations or interpretative declarations which may have been expressed at the time of ratification or adhesion, so as to determine to what extent these reservations and declarations are still valid;

(iii) Encourage governments to make, if they have not already done so, a formal declaration of acceptance of the competence of the International Fact-Finding Commission established in Article 90 of Additional Protocol I of 1977;

4. Invites Parliaments and their members to:

(i) Strengthen national legislation for the implementation of international humanitarian law and ensure that the appropriate regulatory measures are taken;

(ii) Ensure more specifically that the military and civil penal code and code of penal procedure incorporate the rules of international humanitarian law with regard to the punishment of war crimes;

(iii) Promote national-level teaching and dissemination of the rules of international humanitarian law, particularly instruction of the armed forces and security officials;

(iv) Support the establishment of a standing criminal court making it possible to try the instigators and perpetrators of war crimes committed in any armed conflicts, and urge governments to adopt the statutes for such a court, a draft of which has been prepared by the International Law Commission;

(v) Promote the setting up of an interministerial commission to be responsible for the implementation of international humanitarian law and encourage the exchange of information between this commission and similar commissions operating in other countries;

(vi) Establish parliamentary bodies (preferably a committee or a sub-committee or alternatively an informal grouping of MPs) to be responsible for promoting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law, and encourage the exchange of information between this body and similar bodies operating in other countries;

5. Reiterates the appeal to States by the 93rd IPU Conference in April 1995 and by its special session in New York in August/September 1995 to ban anti-personnel mines and blinding laser weapons and, pending their total prohibition:

(i) To stipulate that all anti-personnel mines must be equipped with effective self-destruction devices;

(ii) To ban all mines which cannot be easily localized and to recommend specifications to this end;

(iii) To broaden the Convention to cover all internal conflicts;

(iv) To destroy present stockpiles of anti-personnel mines;

(v) To develop appropriate large-scale demining techniques and programmes and finance them within the framework of their efforts to consolidate peace;

(vi) To ban blinding laser weapons;

7. Urges all IPU members to convey to the Ad Hoc Committee to promote respect for international humanitarian law information on any action they may have taken nationally in connection with the issues mentioned in the present resolution and to ensure that such information reaches the Committee in time so that it may prepare an evaluation report at its next session;

8. Requests the Committee to report to it at its 159th session (Beijing, 20 September 1996) on progress made with regard to international humanitarian law and more specifically on steps taken in the various countries to follow up the above recommendations.

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