The Importance of Fact-Finding Missions Under International Humanitarian Law

  • Liesbeth Zegveld


Legal constraints have often failed to protect civilians from the adverse affects of war. It was no different during the Gaza conflict. IHL proved hardly relevant to the suffering of civilians inside and outside of Gaza a year ago. In order to prevent the rules from becoming even more irrelevant, States should take their obligation to ensure respect for IHL more seriously. The obligation to ensure respect implies that every State ought to take action with regard to any other State which does not respect this law. The duty to ensure respect provides for a system of collective responsibility for compliance with IHL. In the past, the Security Council explicitly called on States to ensure respect by Israel, as Occupying Power, for its obligations under the Geneva Conventions. The International Court of Justice also stated in its Advisory Opinion on the Wall: “all States Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention have the obligation to ensure compliance by Israel with IHL”. The duty to ensure respect has various dimensions. I have identified one particular measure available to States in order to fulfil their obligation to ensure respect: fact finding.


Security Council Armed Conflict Geneva Convention Chemical Weapon Advisory Opinion 
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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liesbeth Zegveld
    • 1
  1. 1.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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