Report of the Secretary-General submitted in accordance
with General Assembly resolution ES-10/3
II. INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF SWITZERLAND
On 5 November 1997, the Government of Switzerland conveyed to me the following
"Since the first document was sent on 7 October 1997 (see
A/ES-10/16-S/1997/798/Add.1), the depositary has received 20 additional replies. These
replies express the following views:
- One State said that it was in favour of convening the Conference of High Contracting
Parties as soon as possible.
- One State said that it agreed that a conference should be convened in accordance with
General Assembly resolution ES-10/3 of 15 July 1997.
- One State replied that it had voted in favour of the resolution and could therefore
support the proposal made in its paragraph 10.
- One State said that it supported the convening of a conference as recommended in
paragraph 10 of the resolution.
- One State said that it had no objection, and therefore supported the proposal to convene
a conference of the High Contracting Parties as recommended in paragraph 10 of the
- One State said that it would participate in the conference when it was convened.
- One State said that it supported and would continue to support all activities aimed at
implementing the resolutions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War.
- One State considered it necessary to hold a preliminary meeting of experts with a view
to making it possible to implement the proposal contained in the draft resolution on the
implementation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory of the Geneva Convention relative to
the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949.
- One State thought that if such a conference were to achieve the desired results, it was
necessary that the States concerned agree to be represented in the deliberations and that
they should express clearly their will to be bound by the relevant provisions of the
conclusions resulting from the conference. That State also said that its Government would
give favourable consideration to any proposal and would support any peaceful initiative
consistent with resolution ES-10/3, aimed at ending the physical and moral suffering of
the civilian populations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
- One State indicated that as a first step it would be desirable to convene a group of
experts from the States concerned, whose main task would be to consider the political and
legal implications of such a conference. Once the group of experts had been consulted, the
States parties to the Convention would be in a good position to express their views on the
actual idea of such a meeting.
- One State reiterated word for word the joint reply that the State currently presiding
over the body of which it is a member had been authorized to transmit, according to which
the States members of that body believed that the convening of a conference in the
immediate future would, in the present circumstances, risk giving rise to additional
complications unless it was carefully prepared, and therefore suggested that the
possibilities should be explored of convening a meeting of experts which would be charged
with examining the political and legal context before a conference of the High Contracting
Parties is convened. The meeting of experts could also examine the broader implications of
such a conference.
- One State, a member of the same body as the State mentioned above, said that it wished
to refer to the reply which the State currently presiding over that body had transmitted
to the Swiss authorities, and likewise reiterated word for word the joint reply.
- Two States, members of the same body as the two mentioned above, said that the joint
reply of the State currently presiding over that body was consonant with their position on
- One State member of the same body as the four mentioned above said that the views
expressed in the note verbale sent by the State currently presiding over that body were
those of its Government.
- One State said that it had supported resolution ES-10/3 and attached priority to the
re-establishment and strengthening of humanitarian international law and specifically to
respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention by all the parties to the conflict. According to
that State, the conference should serve to strengthen the peace negotiations currently
under way, which had reached a sensitive stage.
- One State indicated that it had no major objection to the convening of a conference,
provided that the idea was supported by a very large majority of the States parties to the
- One State said that it approved of the content of the letter of the Government of
Switzerland concerning the conference.
- One State said that it saw no urgent need at the present time to convene a conference
and that in the immediate future it would be better to follow closely the progress of the
negotiations between the parties.
- One State did not believe that such a conference would be useful or necessary at the
present time or that it would foster the atmosphere of confidence required for progress in
the negotiations between the parties to the Middle East peace process. That State
consequently did not support the convening of such a conference and would not take part if
it were convened.
"In addition to those 20 replies, the depositary received a spontaneous communication
from the general delegation of Palestine in Switzerland in which the Palestine Liberation
Organization and the Palestinian National Authority affirmed the need to convene a
conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 as soon
as possible, so as to take practical measures aimed at ensuring respect for the provisions
of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to
confirm the necessity of respecting them in accordance with common article 1 of the four
Conventions of 1949."