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DECLARATION OF THE
NGO PARALLEL MEETING CONCERNING THE FOURTH GENEVA
4 – 5 DECEMBER 2001,
We, the undersigned Palestinian,
Israeli, Regional and International NGOs,
civil society groups and individuals state the
Appalled by Israel’s
systematic and persistent ongoing violations of the Convention and the right of
Palestinian protected persons under that Convention, and gravely concerned by
the ongoing failure of the High Contracting Parties to take any effective
measures to put an end to these violations, we deplore the fact that at their
meeting the High Contracting Parties issued a declaration which went no further
than to reaffirm the obligations of the High Contracting Parties, including the
Israeli occupying power under the Convention.
Reaffirming that the obligations of the High Contracting Parties under Article 1
of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in
Time of War of 12 August 1949 (the Convention) “to respect and to ensure
respect” for the Convention “in all circumstances” requires them to take
effective measures to ensure Israel, as the Occupying Power, applies the
Convention de jure in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
resolutions of the UN General Assembly (including Res ES-10/5, 17 March
1998) which called for the convening of a meeting of the High Contracting
Parties to discuss enforcement measures of the Convention in the Occupied
previous meeting held on 15 July 1999 which was a grave disappointment as
it failed entirely to fulfill any of the UNGA resolutions or the obligations of
the High Contracting Parties under the Convention.
Recognizing that this second meeting has been convened
following the continuous systematic perpetration of violations of the
convention, including grave breaches, namely war crimes, which have only
escalated in the last 15 months.
the contempt of the Convention demonstrated by some High Contracting Parties, in
particular the United States and Israel, in opposing even the convening of the
Conference that was held today, and their relativization and politicization of
fundamental and universal principles of international humanitarian law.
Reaffirming that no
state should be above the law and that in allowing Israel to violate
international humanitarian law with impunity, the High Contracting Parties
encourage continuing violations of the Convention and undermine and victimize
international humanitarian law. Further condemning the deferral of the
application of humanitarian law in the name of political expediency, and
condemning illegitimate claims that the implementation of international
humanitarian law would prejudice the peace process. Recognizing that, as the
concluding lesson of the previous ten years, the absence of international
humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has facilitated the
current humanitarian crisis.
Recalling that this
parallel conference has been convened, by PCHR and LAW, to provide a voice for
leading civil society representatives and experts on international human rights
and humanitarian law, and to make clear the ethical, professional and legal
voice of civil society. Emphasizing that this is of even greater importance as
the High Contracting Parties meeting has been convened in camera, without
an NGO or media presence, and that the declaration has been agreed in advance,
is therefore symbolic and diverted from its intended purpose.
Asserting that this
voice calls upon the High Contracting Parties to break the conspiracy of silence
and put an immediate end to the violations, including grave breaches, against
the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Recognizing that the
unprecedented escalation in the perpetration of violations of the Convention
(willful killing, torture and inhuman treatment, settlements, destruction of
civilian homes and properties (including the deployment of F16s and Apache
helicopters in civilian areas), social and economic suffocation of the
Palestinian people, excessive use of lethal force), including grave breaches,
further illustrates the need for the immediate deployment of an
international protection presence to prevent violations of the
Convention and to protect Palestinian protected persons
within the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
upon the High Contracting Parties to implement, individually and collectively,
in a graduated and cumulative manner, sanctions including economic and
diplomatic, which would ensure Israel’s respect of its
obligations under the Convention (and ensure its agreement to international
protection for Palestinian protected persons).
and demanding that the High Contracting Parties not contribute
to, aid or abet violations of the Convention.
Accordingly, we call for an immediate suspension of military aid, including
weapons and parts, used to perpetrate violations against the protected persons,
and an immediate end to support of illegal settlement activities.
Reaffirming that the obligation of the High Contracting Parties
under Article 146 of the Convention:
each High Contracting Party to enact legislation to
provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing,
or ordering to be committed, any grave breaches as defined under article 147;
positive duty to search for and bring to trial those responsible for grave
breaches of the Convention, under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Additionally, calling for the establishment of a War Crimes Tribunal to
prosecute those responsible for the perpetration of war crimes within the
Occupied Palestinian Territories. Also calling upon all of
the High Contracting Parties to ratify the Rome Statute
of the International Criminal Court.
Also call upon Palestinian,
regional and international non-governmental
organizations and civil society groups to further
pressure their governments to take effective enforcement measures, including all
of the measures detailed above.
concerns that this meeting not be the last such meeting of the High Contracting
Parties to discuss the enforcement of the Convention in the Occupied
Organisations that have
signed this statement
have signed this statement