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Source: Switzerland
27 October 1998


27.10.1998: Meeting of experts on general questions regarding the application of the IVth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of victims of war, 27-29 October 1998, Geneva


On 27-29 October 1998, a meeting of experts from the contracting parties to the IVth Geneva Convention will be held in the Geneva International Conference Centre at the invitation of Switzerland. The aim of the meeting is to identify and analyse general problems related to the application of the Convention, and to discuss possible ways of improving the application of the provisions of the Convention.


Bearing in mind several resolutions which have been adopted by the UN General Assembly, Switzerland, as the depository state of the Geneva Conventions, has pursued extensive consultations with the contracting parties. These have had two outcomes: Firstly, a meeting in Geneva in June 1998, which was chaired by Switzerland and attended by the International Committee of the Red Cross. This meeting brought Israeli and Palestinian experts together to discuss major problems in connection with the application of the Convention in the Occupied Territories.

Secondly, a meeting of experts from all the contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions will now take place. General problems in connection with the application of the Convention will be laid on the table, and ideas of a general nature aimed at improving the application of the Convention will be discussed. Regional and country-specific questions will not be dealt with.

The following three main topics will be discussed at the meeting:

· The identification and analysis of problems in connection with the protection of civilian populations in times of war;


· The identification and analysis of problems in connection with the protection of the civilian population in the Occupied Territories;


· The exchange of ideas on possible measures to solve the problems that have been identified.


The meeting will be chaired by Ambassador Walter B. Gyger, permanent representative of Switzerland to the international organisations in Geneva.

The results of the meeting of experts will be summarised in the chairman's report, and sent to the contracting parties and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 are the most important source of international humanitarian law. They have since become binding to 188 states. The IVth Convention deals with the protection of civilians directly exposed to the violence of parties to a conflict. The additional protocols of 1977 are concerned both with the protection of victims of international armed conflict, and with the protection of victims of non-international armed conflict.
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