United Nations International Meeting on the Convening of
the Conference on Measures to Enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem
(Cairo, Egypt, 14-15 June 1999)
- The United Nations International Meeting on the Convening of the Conference on Measures
to Enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including
Jerusalem, was held at Cairo, Egypt, on 14 and 15 June 1999, under the auspices of the
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Participants in the Meeting included international experts as well as representatives of
Governments, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations system organization and
agencies, the Representative of the ICRC, the Palestinian Authority, non-governmental
organizations and representatives of the media. The Secretary-General of the United
Nations sent an official message to the meeting.
- The participants emphasized the importance to uphold and enforce the purposes and
principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law and human
rights law. Participants stressed the universal character of the Geneva Conventions and
the fact that their provisions have been accepted as norms of international customary law.
They recalled that 1999 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the four
Geneva Conventions and the centenary of the First Hague Peace Conference. It was,
therefore, opportune for the international community to renew its determination to promote
international humanitarian law further and to ensure the respect for the Geneva
Conventions. The participants also referred to the adoption in Rome, last year, of the
Statute of the International Criminal Court.
- The participants in the Meeting were unanimous in their view that the Palestinian people
had been subjected to flagrant violations of its basic human rights as well as their
rights as protected persons under Israeli occupation. They expressed serious concern with
regard to grave breaches, breaches and violations by Israel, the occupying Power, of the
Geneva Convention, including arbitrary detention, ill-treatment of and violence against
civilian population, torture, summary execution, confiscation and destruction of property,
forcible transfers and deportations, and the various forms of collective punishment, as
well as the destruction of economic and social structures of the Occupied Territory. The
participants noted that the above violations correspond to all the categories of problems
that are contained in the Chairmans report of the Experts Meeting of October
- The participants expressed their utmost concern at the continuing settlement activities,
which include illegal land confiscations, transfer of Israeli civilians to the Occupied
Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, in clear violation of Article 49 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention. Article 49 states that the occupying Power shall not deport or transfer
parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. This policy, aimed at
expansion and annexation, apart from being illegal, was deemed to be detrimental to the
- The participants reaffirmed the existing international consensus on the de jure
applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
including Jerusalem, in accordance with relevant General Assembly and Security Council
resolutions. They also called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to fully comply with the
provisions of the Convention. Furthermore, the participants recalled that the Fourth
Geneva Convention, as an instrument of international humanitarian law, was applicable,
regardless of national legislation of Israel, which is a High Contracting Party to the
- The participants appealed to all the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva
Convention to fulfill their obligations in accordance with common article 1, which
requires the High Contracting Parties to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention
in all circumstances.
- The participants strongly supported the convening of the Conference on measures to
enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, as
recommended in General Assembly resolutions ES-10/3, 4 and 5. They also strongly supported
that the High Contracting Parties convene the said Conference on 15 July 1999 at the
United Nations Office at Geneva in accordance with General Assembly resolution ES-10/6,
overwhelmingly adopted on 9 February 1999. The report of the Secretary-General, dated 14
October 1997, demonstrated clearly that the majority of the High Contracting Parties were
in favour of the convening of the Conference on 15 July 1999. The participants called upon
all High Contracting Parties to actively participate in the Conference.
- The participants welcomed the consultations taking place on the preparations for the
Conference, including those conducted by Switzerland in its capacity as the depositary,
and emphasized the need for the widest possible participation in those consultations.
- The participants called upon the High Contracting Parties to strive for concrete results
by the Conference to be incorporated in a declaration or a resolution or both. In view of
the significance of the matter, they urged the High Contracting Parties to make every
effort to reach consensus in the Conference, and in the absence of that, they expressed
the hope that the decisions would be adopted by a vast majority.
- The Conference should emphasize the responsibility of the High Contracting Parties to
ensure respect for the Convention. It should reaffirm, among others, the de jure
applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
including Jerusalem, in particular its illegal settlement policy, call upon the High
Contracting Parties to live up to their obligations under the Convention.
- The participants expressed their hope that the High Contracting Parties would be in a
position to take individually or collectively the measures they deem appropriate to ensure
respect of the Convention.
- The participants called upon the High Contracting Parties participating in the
Conference to establish a follow-up mechanism. This could take the form of a committee,
possibly under the leadership of the depositary of the Fourth Geneva Convention, with the
participation of the ICRC, to ensure the full application of the Convention. The parties
directly concerned should be part of that committee and the High Contracting Parties may
demand their full cooperation.