Dáil Éireann - Volume 565 - 09 April, 2003
Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.
Mr. Broughan Mr. Broughan
125. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the appointment under the appropriate provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention of an independent authority in order to ensure compliance with the Convention during the war in Iraq; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9831/03]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): The four Geneva Conventions allow for each party to an international armed conflict to designate a third, neutral, State as a Protecting Power. A Protecting Power is a State which safeguards the interests of one party in its relations with the other party to a conflict. As such, a Protecting Power has an obligation to ensure that the belligerents fulfil their humanitarian obligations. If a Protecting Power has not been appointed the parties to a conflict may agree to entrust to a humanitarian organisation, which offers every degree of impartiality and efficiency, the humanitarian duties incumbent on the Protecting Powers by virtue of the conventions.
I understand the provisions in the Geneva Conventions for the appointment of Protecting Powers have been exercised only very rarely and that the accepted practice in situations of conflict is for the International Committee of the Red Cross to fulfil the humanitarian functions of a Protecting Power.
In the case of the conflict in Iraq the appointment of Protecting Powers would be a matter for the parties to that conflict. In any event the International Committee of the Red Cross is actively undertaking its protection functions in the conflict in Iraq.
Dáil Éireann 565 Written Answers. Foreign Conflicts.