Kuwait urges accountability for international humanitarian law violators

Kuwait has called for bringing to accountability violators of the international law and perpetrators of crimes against humanity. “It is necessary to ensure accountability for perpetrators of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity,” Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said Monday at a special UN Security Council session on the international humanitarian law.

He stressed the need for condemning human rights violations by all warring parties and to make sure that those targeting civilians are held accountable. He warned that the impunity for violators in current conflicts had led to grave consequences. “This impunity has led to the continuation of the most egregious violations of all fundamental principles of the international humanitarian law, international human rights law and all relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council,” he regretted.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled commend the UN efforts take actions against the international humanitarian law violators in the world hotspots. In this regard, he voiced support to the UN mechanisms to investigate the most serious crimes against humanity in Syria, Myanmar and Iraq. “We also commend the UN Security Council unanimous adoption of resolution 2379 (2017), which called for the formation of an independent team to investigate the crimes committed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) or Da’esh group and demanded its accountability for its heinous crimes in Iraq,” he said.

“Such mechanism and other (similar) mechanisms are important to end impunity. Accountability for those who committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are essential to achieve sustainable peace.” The Kuwaiti top diplomat emphasized that the rule of law and international humanitarian law must be enforced during armed conflicts.

The UN, and particularly the Security Council, has a vital role to play to promote the rule of law and warring parties’ respect of international humanitarian law through the full implementation of its relevant resolutions, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said. He argued that the UN peacekeepers must also assume responsibility for the protection of civilians by taking the necessary measures to provide security for refugee camps, carry out medical evacuation of the wounded people and boost the capacity of the national police to protect vulnerable people.

He added that United Nations forces, warring parties and international organizations operative in conflict zones must abide by all relevant laws, including the international humanitarian law, and accountability must also be ensured for humanitarian law violators.

On the national level, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that Kuwait had implemented a range of initiatives, to build capacity of national cadres in the international humanitarian law. He reiterated that in light of the current global situation, implementing humanitarian law is more important than ever before. While the Geneva Conventions have long been ratified, parties continue to blatantly disregard those texts in some of today’s current conflicts, he lamented.

Meanwhile, humanitarian needs have reached record levels, with more than 130 million needing assistance around the world, he said. He shed lights on the international humanitarian law violations in the Palestinian territories and Syria.

“The Israeli occupation of the occupied Arab territories, including Palestinian land, for more than five decades has been a flagrant violation of international conventions and norms,” “Israeli practices and policies constitute blatant violations of international law — such as the expansion of existing settlements and the construction of new settlements – and have lasting negative consequences on the daily lives of the Palestinian people for decades.” He also cited as example of the Israeli violations the findings of a recent report by the International Independent Investigation Commission on the Israeli troops’ human rights violations and war crimes against protesters in Gaza Strip. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled also noted that the Syrian conflict, which has entered its ninth year, witnessed the most egregious violations of international humanitarian law including the continued and deliberate targeting of civilians and their property, installations and public facilities and the obstruction of humanitarian agencies and organizations from deliveing aid to the needy people.

The session was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister’s Office Director Ambassador Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organizations Ambassador Nasser Al-Hayyen, and several foreign ministry senior officials. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled and his accompanying official delegation arrived in New York on Sunday to take part in UNSC meetings within the framework of Kuwait’s non-permanent seat at the Council