The Commission on Implementation of International Humanitarian Law

The Commission on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus (the Commission) is a permanent consultative interdepartmental working body of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, exercising coordination of the activities of ministries and other republican government bodies, enterprises, institutions and organizations in the sphere of implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL) into the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.

The Commission was established in order to consider issues concerning fulfillment of the international legal obligations of the Republic of Belarus arising from the fundamental international treaties in the sphere of IHL: Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims of 1949, Additional Protocols to them of 1977 and other documents.

The Commission, in its work, cooperates closely with the IHL National Commissions of other states, as well as with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international organizations, that provide assistance to victims of armed conflicts.

The functions of the Secretariat of the Commission are assigned to the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus. The Secretariat of the Commission carries out records management, provision of materials for the meetings of the Commission. The correspondence on issues within the competence of the Commission is also conducted through the Secretariat of the Commission. The Secretary of the Commission manages the work of the Secretariat.

The Main Tasks of the Commission are:

  • facilitation of bringing of the national legislation in conformity with the international conventions and treaties in the sphere of IHL to which the Republic of Belarus is a party;
  • assistance in accordance with established procedure in formalizing of the participation of the Republic of Belarus in international treaties in the sphere of IHL;
  • study and evaluation of current state of national legislation of the Republic of Belarus for its conformity with IHL;
  • preparation of proposals for the implementation of IHL norms in the legislation of the Republic of Belarus;
  • consideration of proposals of competent bodies and preparation of consultative opinions on issues in respect of formation of the position of the Republic of Belarus regarding IHL’s problems;
  • consideration and preparation of consultative conclusions on drafts of international treaties, drafts of legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus in the sphere of IHL;
  • coordination of the activities of competent bodies focused on implementation of IHL norms in the legislation of the Republic of Belarus;
  • facilitation of dissemination of knowledge about IHL and gathering information on IHL development;
  • control of realization of decisions, taken by the Commission;
  • preparation and submission to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus of an annual report on the state and tendencies of fulfillment of international obligations of the Republic of Belarus in the sphere of IHL;
  • conducting of research, preparation of reports and proposals on IHL enforcement and further improvement;
  • organization of cooperation, exchange of information with the ICRC, other international organizations ,operating in the sphere of IHL.

Legal Basis of Activity

The legal basis of the Commission’s activities is comprised of:

  • Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus dated September 19, 1997 No. 1242 "On Establishment of a Commission on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus";
  • Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus dated January 26, 1998 No. 104 "On Approval of the Regulation on the Commission on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus";
  • Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus dated March 12, 2002 No. 319 "Questions of the Commission on Implementation of International Humanitarian Law under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus".

Prerequisites and History of Establishment

The range of problems, associated with realization of international obligations, arising from the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols to them of 1977, as well as other international treaties in the sphere of protection of victims of armed conflicts, is very wide and requires coordination of the activities of many state bodies in this area concerned.

Many countries have begun to create national interagency commissions or other IHL bodies to facilitate this process. Despite the fact that establishment of such commissions is not provided by international treaties in the sphere of protection of war victims and limitation of means and methods of warfare, such establishment was supported at the XXVI and XXVII international conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and is recognized as an important step in ensuring the effective application of IHL and encouraged by a reputable humanitarian organization such as the ICRC.

At present, bodies, designed to facilitate the implementation of IHL have been established in more than 90 countries around the world. The Republic of Belarus was no exception in this regard.

On April 23-24, 1997 in Minsk, the ICRC, together with the Belarus Red Cross and with the assistance of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, organized a seminar on the topic "Implementation of International Humanitarian Law" for representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus, ministries and other republican government bodies, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Belarus.

One of the recommendations of the seminar was the proposal to create an interagency commission on IHL implementation under the Government of the Republic of Belarus, consisting of representatives of various government bodies, in order to ensure coordination of efforts focused on realization of obligations of Belarus in humanitarian sphere. This recommendation was subject to consideration by interested ministries and other republican government bodies of the Republic of Belarus, which supported the idea of establishment of such commission.

On September 19, 1997 the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus adopted the Resolution No. 1242, which established the Commission on the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law under the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus.


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