|Banning Anti-Personnel Mines - The Ottawa Treaty Explained (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1998, 24 p.)|
|2. The Ottawa treaty|
|2.5 Ensuring compliance with the treaty|
Another mechanism established by the Ottawa treaty to promote confidence in its implementation is an enquiry process to be used in the event that a State Party is suspected by another State Party of having failed to respect the provisions of the treaty (see Art. 8). The process begins with a request for clarification, which is passed on to the country under suspicion through the UN Secretary-General. Once the request has been received, that country has 28 days within which to respond to the allegation (see Art. 8, para. 2).
If no response is received within that time period, or if the response is deemed unsatisfactory, the issue may be presented to the next meeting of States Parties. If, however, the issue is considered urgent, a special meeting of States Parties may be convened to consider the matter (see Art. 8, paras 3 and 5). In both instances, the countries attending the meeting will examine the information submitted and decide by a majority vote if further action is necessary (see Art. 8, para. 6).
If additional information is required, a fact-finding mission may be sent to the country (see Art. 8, para. 8). The fact-finding team will consist of up to nine experts whose task is to collect information directly related to the allegation. Its members are appointed by the UN Secretary-General and drawn from a pool of previously submitted names. The country that is the object of the inquiry is consulted on the selection of the experts. The nationals of the country requesting the fact-finding mission or any country directly affected by it cannot participate in the mission (see Art. 8, paras 9 and 10).
The country under examination is obliged to accommodate the fact-finding mission and ensure that it is given the opportunity to speak with all persons and visit all areas relevant to the inquiry (see Art. 8, paras 11 to 14). Such access, however, may be subject to arrangements made by the country to protect its national security, the safety of fact-finding personnel, and the proprietary and constitutional rights of its citizens. Unless otherwise agreed, the fact-finding mission will not remain in the country for more than 14 days nor stay at any particular site for more than seven days (see Art. 8, para. 15).
The fact-finding mission reports the information it has gathered to the UN Secretary-General who will forward it to the meeting, or special meeting of States Parties (see Art. 8. para. 17). After reviewing the report, countries may suggest ways to resolve the issues. In extreme cases this could include referring the matter to the UN Security Council or adopting other enforcement measures provided for by the UN Charter. Any decision taken at this stage is made by consensus or, if that is not possible, by a two-thirds majority of the countries present and voting (see Art. 8, para. 20).