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Statement of Estonia at the Second Formal Meeting in the Intergovernmental Process on Strengthening Respect for International Humanitarian Law


Geneva, 10 April 2017


Thank you Mr Chair

Estonia commends the ICRC for the report, which we consider as complete, accurate in fact and comprehensive in relevant substance as to the existing mechanisms dealing with IHL. With regard to our approach to the report, interpreting its conclusions and the next steps to take, we are glad to echo statements made by Norway and others.

To begin with, we consider it unnecessary to further assess the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms. This is firstly due to such assessment being outside the scope of the agreed mandate of this process, as has been previously mentioned by several delegations. More fundamentally for us, the question is not whether the current mechanisms are effective in fulfilling their tasks, but whether their scope is sufficient for reaching the goals that we set in Resolution 2. We therefore propose concentrating on the question of scope, rather than effectiveness.  

Regarding the scope of the current mechanisms, we recognize the importance of avoiding duplication in this process, also raised by a number of States today. However, the conclusion that Estonia has drawn from this report is that none of the current mechanisms, as they exist today, fulfil all of the criteria for strengthening IHL that we set by consensus at the 32nd Conference.

Now, if this conclusion is contested and it is proposed that such a mechanism does in fact exist, we ask for these States to present that mechanism and explain how it fulfils all of the criteria that we have together agreed upon in Resolution 2.

Until such a proposal has been brought to our attention, we consider that: the ICRC report is conclusive, that no qualifying mechanism exists, and that therefore a gap exists. Estonia looks forward to concentrating on how we could overcome this gap, proceeding with the discussion on features and functions of the possible forum of States. This discussion could also inform us about the possible concerns regarding the potential of that forum to fulfill all of the established criteria, and the steps we could take to overcome them.

Thank you



© Permanent Mission of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28A, Geneva
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