Voluntary report on the implementation of international humanitarian law

The voluntary report provides an overview of international humanitarian law (IHL) implementation by Switzerland. It was prepared by the Interdepartmental Committee for International Humanitarian Law (ICIHL) and approved by the Federal Council (Swiss government) on 12 August 2020. The report, divided into seven sections, looks at the most prominent examples of good practice in this regard and the issues at stake, covering the following key topics: specific protection, rules governing the means and methods of warfare, prosecuting serious violations of IHL, IHL dissemination and training, support for IHL implementation, other measures to ensure respect for IHL.

By virtue of writing this voluntary report, the ICIHL enhanced the dialogue among its members about IHL implementation by Switzerland. The Committee now possesses a well-developed and shared understanding of good practices and of the main implementation-related challenges that Switzerland faces. On that basis, it has created an action plan setting out specific measures that will strengthen Switzerland's efforts in relation to IHL. One of these measures is to support other national IHL committees as they prepare their own voluntary reports. Switzerland encourages all states that have not yet done so to carry out this exercise. The resulting reports could foster intergovernmental dialogue on good practices and the measures needed to improve IHL implementation and compliance. This would strengthen IHL and, ultimately, provide better protection for the victims of armed conflicts.