Réunion d’experts de la Commission interministérielle de droit humanitaire au Palais d’Egmont

le jeudi 04 juin 2015 15:27 Communiqués de presse

Le mardi 2 juin, la Commission interministérielle de droit humanitaire (CIDH), l’organe consultatif du Gouvernement fédéral en matière de droit international humanitaire, a organisé, sous le co-parrainage du Royaume-Uni et de la Belgique, une Réunion d’experts au Palais d’Egmont autour de la question de l’établissement des faits en relation avec le droit international humanitaire. La manifestation était rehaussée de la présence du Ministre de la Justice Koen Geens, qui a ouvert la séance.

Cet évènement s’inscrit dans le cadre des réflexions initiées par le Royaume-Uni et la Belgique au sujet de l’établissement des faits dans les contextes d’application du droit international humanitaire, qui ont précédemment fait l’objet d’une rencontre en marge de la 12ème Assemblée des Etats Parties au Statut de Rome de la Cour pénale internationale.

La question de l’établissement des faits est régulièrement au-devant de l’actualité, se concrétisant parfois par la mise en place de commissions d’enquête internationales ad hoc, à côté de l’instance permanente existante, la Commission internationale humanitaire d’établissement des faits, instaurée par l’article 90 du Premier Protocole additionnel aux Conventions de Genève.

L’objectif de cette réunion était d’approfondir les échanges entre experts nationaux, représentants d’organisations internationales, experts issus du monde académique et membres d’organisations non-gouvernementales afin de discuter des voies et moyens permettant d’améliorer les mécanismes d’établissement des faits en tant qu’outils de renforcement du respect du droit international humanitaire.

La Réunion d’experts de ce jour a réuni autour d’orateurs de très haut niveau, près de 150 participants en provenance des 5 groupes régionaux représentés à l’ONU.
La CIDH et les co-organisateurs se félicitent de ce succès et espèrent que cette Réunion d’experts permettra de nourrir la réflexion sur l’amélioration et le renforcement des mécanismes d’établissements des faits en lien avec le droit international humanitaire.

Discours du Ministre de la Justice Koen Geens:


Ladies and gentlemen,

I have the pleasure to welcome you all here in Brussels to this international expert meeting on fact-finding mechanisms and international humanitarian law co-organized with the United Kingdom. From the Belgian side the preparatory work for the event was done by our Inter-ministerial Committee for Humanitarian Law. The Committee is our Country’s instrument to coordinate the support from government departments and other entities, and advise and assist the federal government in implementing and spreading knowledge of international humanitarian law, or “IHL” as we all call it. The Committee is composed of experts in IHL coming from all concerned ministerial departments and from the Belgian Red Cross sections. The Committee’s President, Mr Damien Vandermeersch, Avocat général at our Court of Cassation, is among us today, together with a great number of members of the Committee. I thank the Committee for the great work it has done in the past, as well as for its role in organizing this event.

I’m particularly happy that we could also count on the expertise and support of our British colleagues. Both the UK and Belgium have always been very much at the forefront when it comes to promoting, implementing and developing IHL. Both countries were among the very first States in the world to ratify the first convention on IHL, the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, adopted in Geneva in 1864.

We have also forged partnerships in the field of fact-finding mechanisms. We both have presented candidates for the International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission based in Bern, Switzerland, and British and Belgian members of that Fact-Finding Commission are among us today. They will undoubtedly share thought-provoking insights during the morning and the afternoon sessions: So a special welcome to Professor Charles Garraway from the UK and my compatriot Professor Eric David.

I have been informed that in 2013 our common commitment to IHL also paved the way for a jointly organized and well-attended side-event in The Hague during the 12th session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. I understand that the conclusions of this side-event, which was also supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, included a recommendation to organize an international expert meeting permitting to deepen our thoughts on today’s topic of Fact-Finding Mechanisms to strengthen the implementation of IHL. So here you are, with great appetite to tackle the questions and challenges I assume!

The organizers have set three objectives for today’s work:

The first objective is to examine the usefulness of a fact-finding function in the framework of IHL implementation and the specificities of such function.

The second objective is to explore possible ways of strengthening the fact-finding functions in situations where IHL is applicable.

The third objective is to reflect on the potential role for the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission in this respect.

These objectives are quite ambitious for a one-day event, but I trust that the available expertise will guide you through the work in the most efficient and effective way. My special thanks to our speakers coming from abroad: I have already mentioned Professor Garraway, but I should also welcome Judge Kirsch, Ambassador Lindenmann, Dr. Bruderlein, Professor Aptel, and Dr. Boutruche.

Mr Gérard Dive, Chairman of the Belgian Task Force for International Criminal Justice and head of the IHL section within my department will chair this morning session, and stands ready to present the day in more detail. In the afternoon it will be Mrs Claire Demaret, the head of the War Crimes Team within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, who will be in charge of presiding over the sessions. Thank you for that Mrs Demaret, it is great to have you here.

So without further delay I therefore declare this international expert meeting opened, and I wish you a very fruitful day. To my regret I will not be able to stay with you for the rest of the event due to other commitments, but I’m sure that you are in good hands.

Thank you for your kind attention, and Mr. Dive, the floor is yours.