IRRC No. 298

Measures available to States for fulfilling their obligation to ensure respect for international humanitarian law

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The present study deals with one specific aspect of the whole issue of finding ways and means of improving respect for international humanitarian law, namely, implementation of the obligation, as contained in Article 1 common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and to their Additional Protocol I of 1977, to ensure respect for this law. It is based upon the premise that the interpretation of common Article 1, whereby the obligation to ensure respect for international humanitarian law implies that every High Contracting Party ought to take action with regard to any other High Contracting Party which does not respect this law, is uncontested. The study therefore does not discuss this issue, but rather identifies and briefly comments upon the various types of measures available to States in order to fulfil their obligation to ensure respect. The examples given for the various measures are merely illustrative and ought by no means to be considered as a judgement by the author regarding their justification in the light of the circumstances under which they were adopted.

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