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close this bookMeasures Available to States for Fulfilling their Obligation to Ensure Respect for International Humanitarian Law (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1994, 20 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentGeneral remarks
View the documentMeasures to exert diplomatic pressure
View the documentCoercive measures that States may take themselves
View the documentPossible measures of retortion
View the documentPossible unarmed reprisals
View the documentMeasures in cooperation with international organizations
View the documentContribution to humanitarian efforts
View the documentProtecting Powers
View the documentConclusion


In a world characterized by increasing concern about violations of international humanitarian law, which in some cases are occurring on an unacceptably massive scale, the need for States to fulfil their obligation to ensure respect for this law has become both urgent and acute. As this study bears out, there do exist a wide range of measures available to them, measures that they have, on various occasions and in different contexts, adopted in the past. It is therefore up to them, as stated in the Final Declaration of the International Conference for the Protection of War Victims (30 August-1 September 1993), to make every effort to “ensure the effectiveness of international humanitarian law and take resolute action, in accordance with that law, against States bearing responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law with a view to terminating such violations”.20

20 See Part II, paragraph 11 of the Final Declaration in IRRC, No. 296, September-October 1993, p. 380.

Umesh Palwankar completed his studies at the Geneva University’s Graduate Institute of International Studies, where he was awarded a doctorate in international relations. He was assistant at the law faculty of Geneva University, and also participated as rapporteur in many round table discussions and meetings of experts organized by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo. Since 1991, he has been a member of the ICRC’s Legal Division, and has published a previous article in the Review, entitled “Applicability of international humanitarian law to United Nations peace-keeping forces” (No. 294, May-June 1993. pp. 227-240).