|A Comparison of Self-Evaluating State Reporting Systems (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1995, 63 p.)|
A reporting system is essential if any progress is to be made in the implementation of international humanitarian law and in preventing violations.
The system can be operated by an independent body of distinguished experts from widely different backgrounds. It must be supported by an adequate secretariat that can develop initiatives when it deems it to be necessary.
At national level, there should be a system for monitoring the situation within a State and for preparing reports to national and international bodies.
A reporting procedure alone however is not sufficient. The Secretariat should be enabled to help a State to derive the fullest benefit from the Conventions it has signed. Technical assistance should be given to those States that ask for it, or that are considered to be in need of assistance by the international body. In addition, the Secretariat should be capable of assessing needs and carrying out missions in the field in order to help States. The National Societies should be integrated into the system of monitoring implementation at national level.
In brief an effective reporting system should be supervised by an independent international body, but it is possible to operate it with a technical secretariat. Incentives to comply with reporting obligations should be provided by assistance programmes at international level, and by encouraging States to set up national monitoring machinery. Adequate human and financial resources are essential to the effectiveness of a reporting system.
Elisabeth Kornblum holds a Masters degree in International Law and a Masters degree in Archaeology, both from the Leiden University in the Netherlands. In May 1994 she started a study on state reporting systems for the Legal Division of the ICRC. At present she is working for the United Nations Office of Amnesty International in Geneva.