Practice Relating to Rule 117. Accounting for Missing Persons

Joint Declaration on Soviet-Japanese Relations
Paragraph 5 of the 1956 Joint Declaration on Soviet-Japanese Relations states: “With regard to those Japanese whose fate is unknown, the USSR, at the request of Japan, will continue its effort to discover what has happened to them.” 
Joint Declaration by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Japan concerning the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Moscow, 19 October 1956, § 5.
Additional Protocol I
Article 33 (1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “As soon as circumstances permit, and at the latest from the end of active hostilities, each Party to the conflict shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by the adverse Party.” 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 33 (1). Article 33 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.37, 24 May 1977, p. 71.
Convention on Enforced Disappearance
The 2006 Convention on Enforced Disappearance provides:
Recalling … relevant international instruments in the fields of human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law,
Article 7
1. Each State Party shall make the offence of enforced disappearance punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account its extreme seriousness.
2. Each State Party may establish:
(a) Mitigating circumstances, in particular for persons who, having been implicated in the commission of an enforced disappearance, effectively contribute to bringing the disappeared persons forward alive or make it possible to clarify cases of enforced disappearance …
Article 24:
3. Each State Party shall take all appropriate measures to search for, locate and release disappeared persons and, in the event of death, to locate, respect and return their remains.
Article 30
1. A request that a disappeared person should be sought and found may be submitted to the Committee, as a matter of urgency, by relatives of the disappeared person or their legal representatives, their counsel or any person authorized by them, as well as by any other person having a legitimate interest.
2. If the Committee considers that a request for urgent action submitted in pursuance of paragraph 1 of this article:
(a) Is not manifestly unfounded;
(b) Does not constitute an abuse of the right of submission of such requests;
(c) Has already been duly presented to the competent bodies of the State Party concerned, such as those authorized to undertake investigations, where such a possibility exists;
(d) Is not incompatible with the provisions of this Convention; and
(e) The same matter is not being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement of the same nature;
it shall request the State Party concerned to provide it with information on the situation of the persons sought, within a time limit set by the Committee.
3. In the light of the information provided by the State Party concerned in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article, the Committee may transmit recommendations to the State Party, including a request that the State Party should take all the necessary measures, including interim measures, to locate and protect the person concerned in accordance with this Convention and to inform the Committee, within a specified period of time, of measures taken, taking into account the urgency of the situation. The Committee shall inform the person submitting the urgent action request of its recommendations and of the information provided to it by the State as it becomes available.
4. The Committee shall continue its efforts to work with the State Party concerned for as long as the fate of the person sought remains unresolved. The person presenting the request shall be kept informed. 
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 61/177, 20 December 2006, Annex, Preamble and Articles 7, 24 and 30.
UN Declaration on Enforced Disappearance
Article 13(6) of the 1992 UN Declaration on Enforced Disappearance, which spells out States’ obligations in terms of investigating cases of enforced disappearance, provides that such investigations “should be able to be conducted for as long as the fate of the victim of enforced disappearance remains unclarified”. 
Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 47/133, 18 December 1992, Article 13(6).
Plan of Operation for the 1991 Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains
Paragraph 2.1.1 of the Plan of Operation for the 1991 Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains set up in the context of the former Yugoslavia states: “Each party is responsible for compiling a list of its reported missing, as well as a file on each missing [person].” Paragraph 2.2.2 adds: “The adverse party/parties shall take all possible measures (administrative steps and public appeals) to obtain information on the person reported missing.” 
Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains: Rules of Procedure and Plan of Operation, established on the Basis of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Serbia, Yugoslav People’s Army and International Committee of the Red Cross, Pècs, 16 December 1991, § 2.1.1 and 2.2.2.
Israel-PLO Agreement on the Gaza Strip
In Article XIX of the 1994 Israel-PLO Agreement on the Gaza Strip, the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed that:
The Palestinian Authority shall cooperate with Israel by providing all necessary assistance in the conduct of searches by Israel within the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area for missing Israelis … Israel shall cooperate with the Palestinian Authority in searching for … missing Palestinians. 
Agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, Cairo, 4 May 1994, Article XIX.
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and IHL in the Philippines
Article 4(9) of Part IV of the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and IHL in the Philippines provides: “Every possible measure shall be taken, without delay, to search for … missing persons”. 
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, The Hague, 16 March 1998, Part IV, Article 4(9).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides: “At all times, particularly after an engagement, the parties to the conflict shall, without delay, take all possible measures to search for … missing persons.” 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 2.05; see also § 6.01.
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides: “As soon as possible each party to an armed conflict must search for those reported missing by the enemy.” It adds: “In order to facilitate the search for missing combatants … each protagonist shall record … information for each person detained, imprisoned or otherwise held in captivity for a period of two weeks, or who has died.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 994, 996 and 997.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
9.99 As soon as possible each party to an armed conflict must search for those reported missing by the enemy.
9.101 The search. As soon as circumstances permit, but at the latest once active hostilities have ceased, all protagonists to the conflict shall commence to search to the fullest extent possible for persons reported missing by one of the belligerents …
9.102 Particulars of missing persons. In order to facilitate the search for missing combatants … each of the protagonists shall … record … information for each person detained, imprisoned or otherwise held in captivity for a period of two weeks, or who has died. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 9.99 and 9.101–9.102.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “As soon as possible, and certainly immediately upon the end of hostilities, each party to the conflict must search for those reported missing by the adverse party.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 9-5, § 52.
The manual further states: “To facilitate the finding of missing personnel, parties to the conflict shall endeavour to reach agreements to allow teams to search for … the dead from the battlefield areas.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 9-5, § 53.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter on the treatment of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked:
1. The Geneva Conventions impose certain obligations on Detaining Powers with regard to the burial and reporting of dead personnel belonging to the adverse party. [The 1977 Additional Protocol I] also imposes obligations to search for the missing and to report upon the disposal of the remains of the dead.
2. As soon as possible, and certainly immediately upon the end of hostilities, each party to the conflict must search for those reported missing by the adverse party. The requests and all information, which may assist in tracing or identifying such person shall be transmitted through the Protecting Power or the Central Tracing Agency of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or the national Red Cross Societies.
3. To facilitate the finding of missing personnel, parties to the conflict shall endeavour to reach agreements to allow teams to search for, identify and recover the dead from battlefield areas. They may also attach to such teams representatives of the adverse party when the search is taking place in areas controlled by the adverse party. While carrying out these duties, members of the teams shall be respected and protected. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 924.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states: “Searches must be carried out to trace missing persons.” 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 94.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) instructs local commanders to offer their assistance to the civil authorities in the search for missing persons. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 50; see also p. 21.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) provides that one of the requirements after a conflict is to “search for missing persons”. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 38.
Indonesia
Indonesia’s Military Manual (1982) provides: “The parties to the conflict should search for missing persons, who are reported by the adverse party, soon after the hostilities cease.” 
Indonesia, The Basics of International Humanitarian Law, Legal Division of the Indonesian Armed Forces, 1982, § 98.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998) provides that according to the 1977 Additional Protocols, “each party must … search for missing persons of the enemy and try to reach arrangements for the dispatch of search teams”. 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, p. 61.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states that according to the 1977 Additional Protocols “each side is required to search for the enemy’s missing in action and allow access to search parties”. 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 39.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) provides: “As soon as circumstances permit or, at least, at the end of active hostilities, each Party to the conflict must search for persons who have been reported missing by the adverse Party.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 2, p. 14; see also Précis No. 3, p. 13.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states that missing persons must be searched for. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 8-SO, § C; see also Fiche No. 1-T, § 22(3).
Mexico
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009) states: “[A]s soon as circumstances permit and, at the latest, when hostilities have ended, the parties to the conflict should search for persons reported missing by an adverse party”. 
Mexico, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para el Ejército y la Fuerza Área Mexicanos, Ministry of National Defence, June 2009, § 204.
The manual also states that a “series of rules [included in the 1977 Additional Protocol I] concerns the duty to search for the missing”. 
Mexico, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para el Ejército y la Fuerza Área Mexicanos, Ministry of National Defence, June 2009, § 274.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands provides: “As soon as circumstances permit, and at the latest from the end of active hostilities, each Party to the conflict shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse Party.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. VI-3.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
Missing persons
As soon as circumstances permit, but in any case immediately after the cessation of hostilities, each party to a conflict must seek the persons listed by the other party as missing. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0611.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides: “As soon as possible, and certainly immediately upon the end of hostilities, each party to the conflict must search for those reported missing by the adverse Party.” 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1011(2).
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “Each party to the conflict must endeavour to trace persons reported missing by an adverse party, which must provide all the relevant information on the missing persons in order to facilitate the search.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 68.a.
The manual further states:
As soon as the tactical situation permits, local area commanders should cooperate with the civilian authorities, with a view to restoring normal conditions for the population. This involves carrying out the following activities.
a. Emergency cooperation
The purpose of emergency cooperation is to save lives by:
(1) searching for victims and missing persons;
Cooperation can be spontaneous and organized locally at the lowest command levels, with the assistance, both at sea and on land, of civilians and civilian organizations, such as the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 69.a.(1).
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “Each party to the conflict must endeavour to trace persons reported missing by an adverse party, which must provide all the relevant information on the missing persons in order to facilitate the search.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 69(a), p. 269.
The manual also states:
As soon as the tactical situation permits, local area commanders should cooperate with the civilian authorities, with a view to restoring normal conditions for the population. This involves carrying out the following activities.
a. Emergency cooperation
The purpose of emergency cooperation is to save lives by:
(1) searching for victims and missing persons;
Cooperation can be spontaneous and organized locally at the lowest command levels, with the assistance, both at sea and on land, of civilians and civilian organizations, such as the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 70(a), p. 269.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states: “After the termination of combat operations the division commander in addition to routine measures shall take steps to search for the … missing, regardless of what forces they belong to.” 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 72.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states:
When tactically possible, searches must be carried out to look for “missing” (who may be wounded) to try to confirm their status and ultimately to keep their family informed. The same practice should be done to look for enemy listed as missing and also civilians reported as missing. 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 40.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
Protection of Missing Persons (Article 33 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I)
- This article stipulates that as soon as circumstances permit, and at the latest from the end of active hostilities, each Party to the conflict shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse Party. 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, p. 109.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that the relevant provisions relating to the dead apply also to the missing. It also states: “The belligerents shall search for the persons whose disappearance has been notified by the adverse party, who shall communicate all the relevant information concerning them.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 5.d.2.(6).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “Provisions concerning the dead also apply, where appropriate, to missing persons. … Each party to the conflict must endeavour to trace persons reported missing by an adverse party.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 5.2.d.(6).
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
“Missing persons” mean persons who are missing during hostilities and whose whereabouts are unknown.
Regarding such persons … as soon as circumstances permit (at the latest from the end of active hostilities) each Party to the conflict shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse Party. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.29.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Each party must search for persons reported missing by an adverse party and also facilitate such searches by the provision of relevant information.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 7.38.
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War (1995) provides:
Art. 28. The appropriate authorities and governmental bodies of the Azerbaijan Republic shall begin the tracing of the persons considered to be missing by the adverse party to the conflict at the first opportunity and at the latest as soon as active military operations are over …
Art. 29. The appropriate authorities and governmental bodies of the Azerbaijan Republic shall ensure that the necessary measures be taken that:
1) information is collected and registered concerning the missing person in all cases irrespective of whether they are detained, in prison or dead. 
Azerbaijan, Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War, 1995, Articles 28 and 29(1).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Law on Missing Persons (2004) states:
A missing person is a person whose family is without news of him/her and/or is reported as unaccounted for, on the basis of reliable information, due to armed conflict which occurred on the territory of the former SFRY [Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Law on Missing Persons, 2004, Article 2(1).
The Law also states:
Missing person’s status ceases on the day of identification and the procedure of tracing the missing person is terminated.
In case a missing person is declared to be dead without human remains being found, the tracing process shall not be stopped. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Law on Missing Persons, 2004, Article 9.
Chad
Chad’s Decree on the Establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (2008) states:
Article 1: A Commission of inquiry has been established for the events that occurred in the Republic of Chad from 28 January to 08 February 2008 and their consequences.
Article 2: The mission of the commission of inquiry is to find and provide information about people reported missing … As such, it is responsible for the following tasks:
- receive, hear or interview anyone complaining of a case of disappearance of relatives, friends or allies;
- conduct any research that could shed light on the exact circumstances of the disappearance of a person;
- conduct investigations abroad and/or in Chad, particularly in areas that suffered badly from the consequences of the events, in particular Oum Hadjer, Ati, N'Djamena, Massaguet, Bitkine, Mongo, Aboudeïa and Am-Timan;
- produce an inquiry report addressed to the President of the Republic. 
Chad, Decree on the Establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, 2008, Articles 1–2.
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
El Salvador
El Salvador’s Decree Creating the Commission for Tracing Missing Children (2004) establishes
… the Inter-institutional Commission for Tracing Children who Disappeared as a Result of the Armed Conflict in El Salvador … which has the objective to collaborate with the public institutions involved with or in charge of the protection of children in the search for the children who have become involuntarily separated from their families, and to further the reunification with their close relatives based on the best interests of the child. 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2004, Article 1.
El Salvador
El Salvador’s Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children (2010) states:
Art. 1.- The National Commission for Tracing Girls and Boys Missing during the Internal Armed Conflict, which will be referred to as “Commission” or “Tracing Commission” hereinafter.
Art. 2.- The Commission shall have as its main objective to investigate and determine the whereabouts and condition of girls and boys that went missing during the internal armed conflict in El Salvador … .
Art. 3.- The Commission shall have the mandate to:
a) Investigate of its own accord or upon request by any person and to receive information on the disappearances of girls and boys during the internal armed conflict;
f) Promote coordination with public institutions and the participation of private, national … organizations, to implement actions that will contribute to determining the whereabouts of the missing girls and boys. 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2010, Articles 1–3(a) and (f).
The Decree also states: “The Tracing Commission will carry out its activities in the whole national territory”. 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2010, Article 6.
The Decree further states: “The Commission will function for a duration of two years from the entry into force of this Decree [26 April 2010].” 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2010, Article 10.
Georgia
Georgia’s Law on Displaced Persons (1996), as amended to 2010, states:
The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories of Georgia [shall] support IDPs in the enjoyment of their rights at temporary dwelling spaces, together with the executive authorities and local self-government bodies, who:
j) Take part in the activities related to finding the … disappeared as a result of gross human rights violations. 
Georgia, Law on Displaced Persons, 1996, as amended to 2010, Article 5(2)(j).
The Law defines an internally displaced person as:
a citizen of Georgia or a stateless person permanently residing in Georgia, who was forced to leave his place of permanent residency and seek asylum within the territory of Georgia due to a threat to his or his relatives’ life, health and freedom, as a result of an aggression by a foreign state, an internal conflict or massive violations of human rights. 
Georgia, Law on Displaced Persons, 1996, as amended to 2010, Article 1.
Georgia
Georgia’s Law on Displaced Persons (1996), as amended in 2011, states:
The Ministry supports the IDPs [internally displaced persons] in [the] enjoyment of their rights in … temporary dwelling spaces[,] together with the executive authorities and local self-government bodies, who:
f) Take part in the activities related to finding the dead and their graves and disappeared as a result of … gross human rights violations. 
Georgia, Law on Displaced Persons, 1996, as amended in 2011, Article 5.4.
The Law, as amended in 2011, defines an internally displaced person from the occupied territory as follows:
Internally displaced person from the occupied territory – IDP is a citizen of Georgia or stateless person permanently residing in Georgia, who was forced to leave his place of permanent residency and seek asylum within the territory of Georgia due to the threat to his life, health and freedom or life, health and freedom of his family members, as a result of aggression of a foreign state, internal conflict o[r] mass violation of human rights or [a]s a result of events determined by … paragraph 11 of article 2 of this Law. 
Georgia, Law on Displaced Persons, 1996, as amended in 2011, Article 1(1).
Georgia
Georgia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (2014) states:
The Ministry [of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia], within its mandate, together with other state bodies[,] shall support an IDP [internally displaced person] to exercise his/her rights. In particular, they shall
f) be involved in the process of finding graves of the missing people as well as those who disappeared as a result of massive human rights violations. 
Georgia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 2014, Article 16(1)(f).
The Law defines an internally displaced person as follows:
A citizen of Georgia or a stateless person with a status residing in Georgia shall be considered as an IDP, if he/she was forced to leave his/her permanent place of residence because of threat to his/her or his/her family members[’] life, health or freedom caused by the occupation of the territory by a foreign state, aggression, armed conflict, mass violence and/or massive human rights violations and/or he/she cannot return to his/her permanent place of residence due to the above mentioned reasons. 
Georgia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 2014, Article 6(1).
Guatemala
Guatemala’s Executive Order No. 264-2006 (2006) states:
The Executive Commission for the tracing of Persons who Disappeared during the Internal Armed Conflict is herewith established as a temporary institution and as a consultative and accessory organ … [This Commission] has the objective to coordinate the efforts of its members and of the other State organs and institutions as well as of entities of civil society, in order to establish mechanisms to be used in the process of tracing, investigating and clarifying the whereabouts of the persons who disappeared involuntarily … during the internal armed conflict which ended with the adoption of the Peace Agreements. 
Guatemala, Executive Order No. 264-2006, 2006, Article 1.
Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 33, are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108.
Peru
Peru’s Directive on Investigations of Sites where Human Remains Were Discovered (2009) states:
II. Objective
Updating the norms and guidelines which regulate the investigation process of the Office of the Public Prosecutor as regards sites where human remains have been discovered and the search for persons who disappeared in Peru. 
Peru, Directive on Investigations of Sites where Human Remains Were Discovered, 2009, Article II.
The directive also states:
After the existence of a site where human remains are presumed has been brought to the attention of the prosecutor responsible for the area where the burial site is located, the prosecutor shall immediately initiate the investigation of the case, taking the present directive as guidance. 
Peru, Directive on Investigations of Sites where Human Remains Were Discovered, 2009, Article 1.
The directive further states:
The forensic investigation comprises the following stages:
1. Preliminary Forensic Investigation which includes the analysis of the files and the formulation of a working hypothesis that is briefly coordinated with the prosecutor in charge.
2. Location, evaluation and registration of the presumed site where human remains and associated elements have been located.
3. Recovery of the human remains and associated elements.
4. … [T]he safety of the recovered evidence (safekeeping).
5. Forensic analysis of the human remains and associated evidence in a laboratory.
6. Analysis of the ante-mortem and post-mortem information with a view to identifying the body or bodies.
7. Genetic analysis of the human remains to identify family members.
8. Drafting of the final forensic report which must be comprehensive. 
Peru, Directive on Investigations of Sites where Human Remains Were Discovered, 2009, Article 8.
Spain
Spain’s Law on the Victims of the Civil War and the Dictatorship (2007) states:
The public administrations, within their competence, shall facilitate the search for, localization and identification of persons who disappeared during the Civil War or during the subsequent political repression and whose whereabouts are unknown, if direct descendants of victims make such a request. 
Spain, Law on the Victims of the Civil War and the Dictatorship, 2007, Article 11(1).
United States of America
The US National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (2009) provides for the following authorization:
Sec. 541. Additional Requirements for Accounting for Members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense Civilian Employees Listed as Missing in Conflicts Occurring Before Enactment of New System for Accounting for Missing Persons
(a) IMPOSITION OF ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS.—Section 1509 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
Ҥ 1509. Program to resolve pre-enactment missing person cases
“(a) PROGRAM REQUIRED; COVERED CONFLICTS.—The Secretary of Defense shall implement a comprehensive, coordinated, integrated, and fully resourced program to account for persons described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 1513(1) of this title who are unaccounted for from the following conflicts:
“(1) World War II during the period beginning on December 7, 1941, and ending on December 31, 1946, including members of the armed forces who were lost during flight operations in the Pacific theater of operations covered by section 576 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Public Law 106–65; 10 U.S.C. 1501 note).
“(2) The Cold War during the period beginning on September 2, 1945, and ending on August 21, 1991.
“(3) The Korean War during the period beginning on June 27, 1950, and ending on January 31, 1955.
“(4) The Indochina War era during the period beginning on July 8, 1959, and ending on May 15, 1975.
“(5) The Persian Gulf War during the period beginning on August 2, 1990, and ending on February 28, 1991.
“(6) Such other conflicts in which members of the armed forces served as the Secretary of Defense may designate.
‘‘(c) TREATMENT AS MISSING PERSONS.—Each unaccounted for person covered by subsection (a) shall be considered to be a missing person for purposes of the applicability of other provisions of this chapter to the person. 
United States, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, 2009, Sec. 541, pp. 107–108.
Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, domestic legislation on missing persons outside armed conflict empowers judicial officers to compel police officers to search for a missing person. The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe states that this demonstrates that the authorities in Zimbabwe believe that missing persons, even in armed conflict, should be searched for. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 5.2, referring to Missing Persons Act as amended, 1978, Section 4.
South Africa
In 1987, in the Petane case, the Cape Provincial Division of South Africa’s Supreme Court dismissed the accused’s claim that the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflected customary international law. The Court stated:
The accused has been indicted before this Court on three counts of terrorism, that is to say, contraventions of s 54(1) of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982. He has also been indicted on three counts of attempted murder.
The accused’s position is stated to be that this Court has no jurisdiction to try him.
… The point in its early formulation was this. By the terms of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I to the [1949] Geneva Conventions the accused was entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war. A prisoner-of-war is entitled to have notice of an impending prosecution for an alleged offence given to the so-called “protecting power” appointed to watch over prisoners-of-war. Since, if such a notice were necessary, the trial could not proceed without it, Mr Donen suggested that the necessity or otherwise for giving such a notice should be determined before evidence was led. …
On 12 August 1949 there were concluded at Geneva in Switzerland four treaties known as the Geneva Conventions. …
South Africa was among the nations which concluded the treaties. … Except for the common art 3, which binds parties to observe a limited number of fundamental humanitarian principles in armed conflicts not of an international character, they apply to wars between States.
After the Second World War many conflicts arose which could not be characterised as international. It was therefore considered desirable by some States to extend and augment the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, so as to afford protection to victims of and combatants in conflicts which fell outside the ambit of these Conventions. The result of these endeavours was Protocol I and Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, both of which came into force on 7 December 1978.
Protocol II relates to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Since the State of affairs which exists in South Africa has by Protocol I been characterised as an international armed conflict, Protocol II does not concern me at all.
The extension of the scope of art 2 of the Geneva Conventions was, at the time of its adoption, controversial. …
The article has remained controversial. More debate has raged about its field of operation than about any other articles in Protocol I. …
South Africa is one of the countries which has not acceded to Protocol I. Nevertheless, I am asked to decide, as I indicated earlier, as a preliminary point, whether Protocol I has become part of customary international law. If so, it is argued that it would have been incorporated into South African law. If it has been so incorporated it would have to be proved by one or other of the parties that the turmoil which existed at the time when the accused is alleged to have committed his offences was such that it could properly be described as an “armed conflict” conducted by “peoples” against a “ra[c]ist regime” in the exercise of their “right of self-determination”. Once all this has been shown it would have to be demonstrated to the Court that the accused conducted himself in such a manner as to become entitled to the benefits conferred by Protocol I on combatants, for example that, broadly speaking, he had, while he was launching an attack, distinguished himself from civilians and had not attacked civilian targets. …
… I am prepared to accept that where a rule of customary international law is recognised as such by international law it will be so recognised by our law.
To my way of thinking, the trouble with the first Protocol giving rise to State practice is that its terms have not been capable of being observed by all that many States. At the end of 1977 when the treaty first lay open for ratification there were few States which were involved in colonial domination or the occupation of other States and there were only two, South Africa and Israel, which were considered to fall within the third category of ra[c]ist regimes. Accordingly, the situation sought to be regulated by the first Protocol was one faced by few countries; too few countries in my view, to permit any general usage in dealing with armed conflicts of the kind envisaged by the Protocol to develop.
Mr Donen contended that the provisions of multilateral treaties can become customary international law under certain circumstances. I accept that this is so. There seems in principle to be no reason why treaty rules cannot acquire wider application than among the parties to the treaty.
Brownlie Principles of International Law 3rd ed at 13 agrees that non-parties to a treaty may by their conduct accept the provisions of a multilateral convention as representing general international law. …
I incline to the view that non-ratification of a treaty is strong evidence of non-acceptance.
It is interesting to note that the first Protocol makes extensive provision for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. …
In this sense, Protocol I may be described as an enlightened humanitarian document. If the strife in South Africa should deteriorate into an armed conflict we may all one day find it a cause for regret that the ideologically provocative tone of s 1(4) has made it impossible for the Government to accept its terms.
To my mind it can hardly be said that Protocol I has been greeted with acclaim by the States of the world. Their lack of enthusiasm must be due to the bizarre mixture of political and humanitarian objects sought to be realised by the Protocol. …
According to the International Review of the Red Cross (January/February 1987) No 256, as at December 1986, 66 States were parties to Protocol I and 60 to Protocol II, which, it will be remembered, deals with internal non-international armed conflicts. With the exception of France, which acceded only to Protocol II, not one of the world’s major powers has acceded to or ratified either of the Protocols. This position should be compared to the 165 States which are parties to the Geneva Conventions.
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status o[f] customary international [law].
I have not been persuaded by the arguments which I have heard on behalf of the accused that the assessment of Professor Dugard, writing in the Annual Survey of South African Law (1983) at 66, that “it is argued with growing conviction that under contemporary international law members of SWAPO [South-West Africa People’s Organisation] and the ANC [African National Congress] are members of liberation movements entitled to prisoner-of-war status, in terms of a new customary rule spawned by the 1977 Protocols”, is correct. On what I have heard in argument I disagree with his assessment that there is growing support for the view that the Protocols reflect a new rule of customary international law. No writer has been cited who supports this proposition. Here and there someone says that it may one day come about. I am not sure that the provisions relating to the field of application of Protocol I are capable of ever becoming a rule of customary international law, but I need not decide that point today.
For the reasons which I have given I have concluded that the provisions of Protocol I have not been accepted in customary international law. They accordingly form no part of South African law.
This conclusion has made it unnecessary for me to give a decision on the question of whether rules of customary international law which conflict with the statutory or common law of this country will be enforced by its courts.
In the result, the preliminary point is dismissed. The trial must proceed. 
South Africa, Supreme Court, Petane case, Judgment, 3 November 1987, pp. 2–8.
South Africa
In 2010, in the Boeremag case, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court stated:
In Petane, … Conradie J found that the provisions of [the 1977 Additional] Protocol I are not part of customary international law, and therefore are also not part of South African law.
Referring to the fact that in December 1986 only 66 of the 165 States party to the Geneva Conventions had ratified Protocol I, the Court [in Petane] stated:
This approach of the world community to Protocol I is, on principle, far too half-hearted to justify an inference that its principles have been so widely accepted as to qualify them as rules of customary international law. The reasons for this are, I imagine, not far to seek. For those States which are contending with “peoples[’]” struggles for self-determination, adoption of the Protocol may prove awkward. For liberation movements who rely on strategies of urban terror for achieving their aims the terms of the Protocol, with its emphasis on the protection of civilians, may prove disastrously restrictive. I therefore do not find it altogether surprising that Mr Donen was unable to refer me to any statement in the published literature that Protocol I has attained the status of customary international law.
Important changes with respect to certain aspects applicable at the time of Petane have taken place. The ANC [African National Congress] has become South Africa’s ruling party and in 1995 ratified Protocol I. The total number of States that have ratified it, is now … 162.
This last aspect forms the basis on which the First Respondent [the State] and the applicants agree that Protocol I forms part of customary international law as well as of South African law. As requested, this position is accepted for the purposes of the decision, without deciding on the matter.
Despite these changes, it remains debatable whether the provisions of Protocol I have become a part of South African law in this way.
The consensus of both parties to the conflict is required. See Petane … and Article 96 of Protocol I. …
Parliament’s failure to incorporate Protocol I into legislation in accordance with Article 231(4) of the Constitution in fact points to the contrary, and is indicative that the requirements of usus and/or opinio juris have not been met. See Petane. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, pp. 21–22.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The Court also held:
If the [1977 Additional Protocol I] applies in South Africa as customary international law, the two requirements that form the basis of customary law must be met. It is arguable that the requirement of usus has been met by the vast number of States that have acceded or ratified it. By ratifying Protocol I the Republic of South Africa has indicated its intention to apply the Protocol, thereby fulfilling the requirement of opinio juris. 
South Africa, North Gauteng High Court, Boeremag case, Judgment, 26 August 2010, p. 66.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 2005, in its initial report to the Human Rights Committee, Bosnia and Herzegovina stated that its Law on Missing Persons (2004) includes provisions on the “process of search for missing persons”. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Initial report to the Human Rights Committee, 24 November 2005, UN Doc. CCPR/C/BIH/1, § 46.
Botswana
The Report on the Practice of Botswana states that there is a duty on all parties to armed conflicts to search for persons reported missing. 
Report on the Practice of Botswana, 1998, Chapter 5.2.
Croatia
The main task of the Commission for Tracing Persons Missing in War Activities in the Republic of Croatia, established by the Croatian Government in 1991, was to collect and process the information about civil and other persons missing from the territory of Croatia during the war. In 1993, a new Commission, the Commission for Detained and Missing Persons, replaced the one established in 1991, yet with the same task. 
Croatia, Directive on the Establishment and Functioning of the Commission for Tracing Persons Missing in War Activities in the Republic of Croatia, 1991; Regulations establishing the Commission for Detained and Missing Persons in Croatia, Official Gazette, No. 46, 17 May 1993.
Djibouti
In 2011, in the History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, under the heading “Terminology”, defined a “missing person” as a
[p]erson whose relatives have lost any trace of him/her and/or who has, on the basis of the available information, been reported missing in the context of an armed conflict, in other situations of violence or in other situations requiring the intervention of a neutral and independent intermediary. 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, 2011, p. 227.
The ministry also states: “Parties to the conflict shall search for persons reported missing by the adverse Party.” 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, 2011, p. 226.
El Salvador
In 2002, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, El Salvador stated: “By 1996 a total of 323 children had been recorded as having disappeared as a result of the armed conflict.” 
El Salvador, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 22 October 2003, UN Doc. CRC/65/Add.25, submitted 10 July 2002, § 506.
El Salvador
In 2006, in its written replies to the issues raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child with regard to El Salvador’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, El Salvador stated:
Information on measures taken to implement the 2005 decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of the Serrano Cruz sisters vs. El Salvador, including but not limited to the establishment of a Commission to determine the whereabouts of children who disappeared during the armed conflict.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the State could comply with the corrective measure it ordered through the Inter-institutional Commission to Search for Children who Disappeared owing to Armed Conflict in El Salvador, provided that that body met the criteria established, or could establish a new commission that met those conditions. Realizing that the President’s brainchild met the requirements, the State decided to pursue the first option.
It therefore began taking administrative steps with the appropriate bodies to provide the Commission with space to work in and funding that had not been included in the State budget so that it could carry out its assigned tasks. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning the list of issues formulated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in connection with its consideration of the initial report of El Salvador under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 12 May 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/SLV/Q/1/Add.1, p. 7.
El Salvador
In 2007, in its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, El Salvador stated:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a Human Rights Department within the Directorate-General of Legal Affairs, and set up the Inter-Agency Commission on the search for children who disappeared during the armed conflict in El Salvador. 
El Salvador, Second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 12 December 2007, UN Doc. CAT/C/SLV/2, submitted 23 July 2007, § 29.
[footnote in original omitted]
El Salvador
In 2008, in its third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, El Salvador stated:
With regards to missing children, the State set up an Inter-Institutional Commission to search for children who disappeared owing to armed conflict in El Salvador, through Executive Order No 45 of 5 October 2004. This [Commission] began work on 13 June 2005, with the aim of cooperating with public institutions with involvement in or responsibility for child protection in the quest for children who were involuntarily separated from their families during that period in El Salvador. … In accordance with Article 4 of the Executive Order mentioned above, the Inter-Institutional Search Commission can also call on the cooperation and backup of other public institutions to help achieve its goal, … and also private institutions set up to achieve the aims of this Commission. 
El Salvador, Third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 23 July 2009, UN Doc. CRC/C/SLV/3-4, submitted 21 February 2008, § 381.
The report also states:
383. As far as field activities are concerned … [a] logistical plan has been developed for collecting data, including the processing of special files for obtaining specific data, the planning of field trips and meetings when experiences gained as a result of the various forms of fieldwork are compared to establish progress in cases. … The fieldwork includes interviews with the civilian population and also with serving and retired military personnel, with state officials, with officials of national … institutions, such as the Salvadoran Red Cross … , from which valuable and important information has been obtained.
384. The National Civil Registry (RNPN) offers significant help in resolving cases assigned to it because it provides data on people related to case investigations, which makes it easier to locate them so that the relevant interviews can be carried out. As far as documentary investigations are concerned, visits have been carried out, obtaining access to the archives of various state institutions and mass media, where valuable information has been found and even photographs in some cases. Special emphasis must be placed on the conscientious and effective work being carried out by the Inter-Institutional Commission to search for children who disappeared owing to armed conflict. …
385. … Various search requests have been received for cases relating to the armed conflict …
386. The achievements of the Inter-Institutional Commission to search for children who disappeared owing to armed conflict since it first started work may be measured by its initial result of 46 cases resolved, which have led to 22 reunions taking place. 
El Salvador, Third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 23 July 2009, UN Doc. CRC/C/SLV/3-4, submitted 21 February 2008, §§ 383–386.
[footnote in original omitted]
El Salvador
In 2009, in its written replies to the Committee against Torture concerning its second periodic report, El Salvador stated:
4. Indicate:
a) what have been the measures adopted by the State to find persons disappeared, including children, during the armed conflict of 1980 to 1992;
b) If a national commission, with sufficient resources and functions, has been instituted;
7. With regard to subparagraphs a) and b), concerning girls and boys disappeared during the internal armed conflict, the Salvadoran State created through Executive Decree No. 45 of 5 October 2004, published in Official Journal No. 45, Volume No. 365 of 6 October 2004, the Inter-institutional Commission for the Tracing of Boys and Girls Missing as a Result of the Armed Conflict in El Salvador, which initiated its work in September 2005 … .
8. The period of validity of this Decree and of the extension of the [Commission’s] mandate terminated on 31 May 2009, having resolved to the date 70 cases out of 212 total search requests, 51 of which were directly related to the armed conflict … ; having achieved, in addition, 29 family reunions despite not having the necessary financial resources to carry out the work for which it was created and thus not accomplishing all that was required by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the Case of the Serrano Cruz Sisters versus El Salvador.
9. Starting on 1 June 2009, El Salvador initiated a new phase in its history … ; and it is in this context that the Commission finds itself in a process of restructuring and redefinition that have led to a temporary suspension of the tasks entrusted to it, which will be taken up once again under the new vision of the Salvadoran State. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the list of issues formulated by the Committee against Torture in connection with its consideration of the second periodic report of El Salvador, 12 October 2009, UN Doc. CAT/C/SLV/Q/2/Add.1, submitted 1 October 2009, Question 4(a–b), §§ 7–9.
El Salvador
In 2009, in its written replies to the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning its third and fourth periodic reports, El Salvador stated in regard to the progress made and the current situation of the search for children who disappeared during the internal armed conflict:
58. The so-called “Inter-institutional Commission to search for children who disappeared during the Salvadoran armed conflict” operated for four years until ceasing to exist on 31 May 2009.
59. Although the Inter-institutional Commission recorded some achievements, El Salvador recognizes that the Commission did not meet the standards required by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in its judgement in the case of the sisters Ernestina and Erlinda Serrano Cruz, particularly with respect to the need for greater investigative resources in the search for children, guarantees of the independence of the Commission’s members, and representation of the victims in the Commission.
60. The Association for the Search for Disappeared Children … petitioned the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador on a number of occasions for the enactment of a legislative decree establishing a national search commission. However, these petitions were not approved during the Assembly’s various proceedings.
61. Accordingly, El Salvador, through its new Executive, will promote the establishment by executive decree of a national search commission, respecting the standards for such a commission required by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has informed the Association for the Search for Disappeared Children and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of this decision – the latter, at a hearing on five cases of disappeared children held in Washington, D.C. on 6 November 2009. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has formulated a draft executive decree for the establishment of a national search commission, which is currently in the review phase and can be expected to be adopted in the reasonably near future.
62. In addition to the above decision, El Salvador, through its Minister for Foreign Affairs, has established an official dialogue with the Association for the Search for Disappeared Children, in furtherance of its obligations to comply with the judgement in the case of the Serrano Cruz sisters and with the Court’s demands in other cases of disappeared children. …
63. At the previously mentioned hearing of 6 November 2009 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, El Salvador radically altered its former positions regarding the problem of children who disappeared during the armed conflict. It recognized the existence of a pattern of child disappearances during that period, … and promised to endeavour to discharge in good faith its international human rights obligations in this matter.
65. These changes hold out the prospect of a historic breakthrough in the search for disappeared children. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the list of issues prepared by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in connection with the consideration of the third and fourth periodic reports of El Salvador, UN Doc. CRC/C/SLV/Q/3–4/Add.1, submitted 10 December 2009, Question 13, §§ 58–63, and 65.
El Salvador
In 2010, in its written replies to the Human Rights Committee concerning its sixth periodic report, El Salvador stated:
60. During the period under examination, the State has not launched a comprehensive plan for the search of persons disappeared in the context of the internal armed conflict.
61. Despite the above, in the context of the current Government of El Salvador (which assumed its functions on 1 June 2009), the State has recognized that practices such as the enforced disappearance of persons took place in the context of the internal armed conflict, causing profound suffering to the affected families. …
62. … [I]n a public act of reparation … , the President of El Salvador signed an Executive Decree for the creation of the “National Commission for Tracing Boys and Girls Missing during the internal armed conflict” in accordance with the standards required by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights … .
63. Furthermore, there has recently been important case law of the Constitutional Division of the Supreme Court of Justice, which in Habeas Corpus proceedings have extended the right to judicial protection of victims of enforced disappearance and transferred different cases to the Office of the Public Prosecutor for the investigation of these. In this respect, the Constitutional Division has held that a judgment against the defendant … [in habeas corpus proceedings] cannot have an immediate restorative effect. … [T]hus, the duty to investigate and establish the material situation of disappeared persons would fall to the Office of the Public Prosecutor, without the need for the act to have been previously classified as an offence. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the list of issues formulated by the Human Rights Committee in connection with its consideration of the sixth periodic report of El Salvador, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SLV/Q/6/Add.1, 21 September 2010, §§ 60–63.
[footnote in original omitted]
In its written replies, El Salvador further stated:
66. The Inter-institutional Commission for the Tracing of Boys and Girls Missing as a Result of the Armed Conflict in El Salvador resolved 70 cases out of the 212 registered by it while it was in force (from October 2004 to 31 May 2009). Among the resolved cases, 51 were directly related to the armed conflict, … which took place between … [1980] and 1992. Nevertheless, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the resolutions on supervision of the implementation of the judgement in the case of the Ernestina and Erlinda Serrano Cruz sisters, kept open the follow-up item, which ordered the creation and functioning of the above-mentioned Commission, as it considered that it did not meet the standards of independence, resources and legal capacity necessary to establish the whereabouts of victims of disappearances.
67. As a result, on 18 January 2010 Executive Decree No. 5, which gave legal life to the current “National Commission for Tracing Boys and Girls Missing during the internal armed conflict”, was published in the Official Journal. The mandate of this Commission is to establish the whereabouts of boys and girls victims of disappearance during the internal armed conflict, previously taking into account the standards mentioned by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for its functioning. This Commission, … which will be instituted in July 2010, will have within its functions the investigation of the disappearance of boys and girls during the internal armed conflict, … and giving momentum to processes for the search of disappeared boys and girls. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the list of issues formulated by the Human Rights Committee in connection with its consideration of the sixth periodic report of El Salvador, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SLV/Q/6/Add.1, 21 September 2010, §§ 66–67.
Germany, Federal Republic of
At the CDDH, the Federal Republic of Germany stated that the draft rule that each party to the conflict should try to obtain information on missing persons would meet a “fundamental humanitarian need, which was not yet fully and explicitly covered by existing treaty obligations”. 
Germany, Federal Republic of, Statement at the CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XI, CDDH/II/SR.19, 13 February 1975, p. 186, §§ 79–80.
Germany
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina, the German representative noted that his delegation had taken the initiative in the Security Council to push for measures to be taken to establish the whereabouts of missing Bosnian men. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3591, 9 November 1995, pp. 2–3.
Guatemala
In 2003, in its fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Guatemala stated:
As recommended by the Historical Clarification Commission which arose out of the peace agreements, a National Commission to Search for Missing Children has been set up. It is supported by the Office of the … [Ombudsman] for Human Rights and is made up of a number of bodies that work in coordination, including: the Human Rights Office of the Archdiocese of Guatemala, the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman, the Asociación Casa Alianza Guatemalateca, the Liga Guatemalteca de Higiene Menta (Guatemalan mental health league), the Grupo Monseñor Romero, the Legal Action Centre for Human Rights, the Widows’ National Coordinating Committee, the Mutual Support Group, the Rigoberta Menchú Foundation, the Asociación Dónde están los Niños y las Niñas (Where are the children association) and the Centro de Investigación Internacional de Derechos Humanos (International human rights research centre). The commission’s mission is to support, promote and reinforce efforts to document cases, track down children and reunite families; it will also give impetus to efforts to obtain justice, assistance and reparation, and to legal actions to help along the searches for missing children.  
Guatemala, Fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 27 May 2005, UN Doc. CAT/C/74/Add.1, submitted 8 December 2003, § 48.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “T[h]e Minister of Human [R]ights meets the head of the ICRC and discusses … the file of missing Kuwaitis”, which stated:
[T]he [M]inister [of Human Rights] expressed [the] gratitude of the [R]epublic of Iraq to the ICRC for its efforts in Iraq and his wishes for the continuation of such cooperation …
The [M]inister also expressed his hope to obtain support in the file of missing Kuwaitis that Iraq looks forward to finaliz[ing, it] being a humanitarian commitment before being a legal one, as the new Iraq is working hard with all possible means to apply humanitarian standards in all its activities. … The [M]inister said that he expressed to the [G]overnment of Kuwait his keenness to finalize this file once and for all. 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “T[h]e Minister of Human [R]ights meets the head of the ICRC and discusses … the file of missing Kuwaitis”, Press Release, 3 March 2011.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “The [M]inistry of Human [R]ights signs an MOU with the ICRC”, which stated:
[T]he [M]inister of [H]uman [R]ights said that the aim of [the] signing of this MOU is to strengthen the capacity of t[h]e Zubair [C]enter in Basrah to enhance the process of dealing with the remains of martyrs and to develop technologies required to preserve such remains.
He added that the history of cooperation between Iraq and the ICRC [goes] back to 1980[,] stating that it is imperative that Iraq is working to continue with such cooperation through provision of technologies and equipment and preparations of t[he M]inistry to deal with missing Iraqis[’] and Iranian[s’] files.
He indicated that such preparations require the readiness of [the] Zubair [C]enter in the fi[el]d of identifying the remains through DNA testing and preparing the center to receive such remains, expressing his hope that the ICRC would consider Iraq’s positive response regarding the Kuwaiti and Iranian files and the future efforts in this course. He expressed the [M]inistry[’s] readiness to deal with any piece of information from the American or Kuwaiti sides regarding this issue in addition to [the M]inistry’s own efforts. 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “The [M]inistry of Human [R]ights signs an MOU with the ICRC”, Press Release, 13 March 2011, p. 1.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “The Minister of Human Rights discusses with the ICRC a proposal related to detention institutions”, which stated:
[T]he Minister of Human Rights had discussed with … the head of [the] ICRC delegation to Iraq the excavations taking place in Fao city and the search for the remains of Iranians [gone] missing during the first [G]ulf war and the possibility of involving the Iranian side which offered its cooperation in this field. 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “The Minister of Human Rights discusses with the ICRC a proposal related to detention institutions”, Press Release, 19 December 2011.
Iraq
In 2012, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release concerning the file on the missing, which stated:
The technical committee [created] to discu[ss] [the issue of] missing Iraqis and Kuwaitis had held its 76th meeting in Kuwait [on] 16–19 of September 2012 [in] the presence of all committee members (Iraq, Kuwait, the US, the UK, and France) under the supervision of the ICRC, which chaired the meeting. The activities of the [Iraqi] Human Rights [M]inistry were discussed, mainly th[o]se related to excavation and exploration in proposed burial locations of Kuwaiti missing citizens, and preparations for excavating in new burial locations in [the] Al-Khamisiyah area in Dhi Qar province. The meeting also discussed the necessity of contacting Iraqi witnesses in[side] and out[side] of Iraq who have information of missing Kuwaitis, and [of] making use of updated technologies like aerial photography and GPR devices in [the] exploration of burial sites, demanding member countries (US, UK, and France) to provide expertise and training in the field. During the meeting, [it was] stress[ed] that [the] ICRC shall provide [the] most updated information adopted in forensic medicine and analysis of information, and [the] Kuwaiti side [was asked] to explore new areas where potential Iraqi missing persons might be buried. 
Iraq, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The File on the Missing”, Press Release, 1 October 2012.
Ireland
In 2009, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a written response to a question on the situation in Sri Lanka, stated:
As I have stated on many occasions in this House, I am deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka. The immediate priority is still the welfare of the 280,000 or so Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) currently being held in IDP camps in the north of the country. There is urgent need … for missing IDPs to be accounted for and reunited with their families. 
Ireland, Dáil Eireann (House of Deputies), Minister for Foreign Affairs, Written Answers – Foreign Conflicts (3), Dáil Eireann debate Vol. 690 No. 1, 23 September 2009.
Israel
According to the Report on the Practice of Israel, it is the policy of the Israeli authorities to conduct ongoing searches for members of the Israel Defense Forces who are missing in action. 
Report on the Practice of Israel, 1997, Chapter 5.2.
Jordan
The Report on the Practice of Jordan states that Jordan recognizes that it has a special duty to search for persons reported missing. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 5.2.
Kuwait
According to the Report on the Practice of Kuwait, it is the opinio juris of Kuwait that missing persons must be searched for in order to establish their fate and enable their return. 
Report on the Practice of Kuwait, 1997, Chapter 5.2.
Malaysia
According to the Report on the Practice of Malaysia, search operations for missing persons are initiated upon receipt of information on the missing person and continue for seven years. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Chapter 5.2.
Nepal
In 2004, in a declaration of commitment on the implementation of human rights and international humanitarian law, the Prime Minister of Nepal stated: “HMG [His Majesty’s Government] assures full cooperation to establish the fate and whereabouts of reported missing persons.” 
Nepal, Declaration of commitment on the implementation of human rights and international humanitarian law, 26 March 2004, § 22.
Netherlands
In 1988, in a report on Measures of Implementation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands stated that “the National Information Bureau has a plan for the organization of searches” with regard to missing persons. 
Netherlands, Measures of Implementation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocols, annexed to Letter dated 20 December 1988 from the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands in Geneva for submission to the ICRC, Comments on Article 33 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.
Peru
According to the Report on the Practice of Peru, during the international armed conflict between Peru and Ecuador in 1995, Peru carried out search and rescue operations to recover missing Peruvian aircraft crews. 
Report on the Practice of Peru, 1999, Chapter 5.2.
Poland
In 2005, in a cooperation agreement concluded between the Polish Minister of National Defence and the Polish Red Cross, the Government of Poland stated:
1. Organizational units of the Ministry of National Defence and the organizational units subordinated to the Minister of National Defence or supervised by him, hereinafter referred to as the national defence agency, and the Polish Red Cross, hereinafter referred to as the PRC shall cooperate to:
4) search for persons missing as a result of armed conflicts. 
Poland, Cooperation Agreement Between the Minister of National Defence and the Polish Red Cross, Warsaw, 8 February 2005, published in MON Official Journal of 2005, No. 3, item 18, § 1(4).
Russian Federation
According to the Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation, a great effort has been made to determine the fate of Japanese persons who were reported missing in the USSR, but only during the period of perestroika. The Joint Soviet-Japanese Commission and the Japanese Union of ex-Prisoners have made some progress in this field. 
Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation, 1997, General Notes.
According to the report, there are no specific rules in the Russian Federation or in other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States to regulate the search for missing persons. In practice, private organizations have assumed State functions. Representatives of the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee, for example, have gone to Chechnya with the mothers of missing soldiers to find out what happened to their sons. 
Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation, 1997, Chapter 5.2.
146. Following the war and the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis, there are children who have been separated from their families. The efforts made by Rwanda to reunify these children with their families have been mentioned in the initial report. The process of reuniting children with their families continues in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In this connection, announcements related to children in search of their families are regularly broadcast on national radio station. In these announcements, anyone who recognizes a child among those whose names are mentioned on radio is requested to notify ICRC that takes steps to reunite the child with his family.
147. ICRC works also with Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission in tracing the families of Rwandan children involved in armed conflicts in DRC returning to their country.
Serbia and Montenegro
In 2003, in its initial report to the Human Rights Committee, Serbia and Montenegro stated:
Serbia and Montenegro is particularly interested in solving the question of missing and abducted persons from Kosovo and Metohija in view of the responsibility of the United Nations, i.e. UNMIK under UNSC resolution 1244. Clarifying the fate of all missing persons from Kosovo and Metohija is an important step towards establishment of lasting peace and reconciliation. 
Serbia and Montenegro, Initial report to the Human Rights Committee, 24 July 2003, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SEMO/2003/1, submitted 9 July 2005, § 205.
Switzerland
In 2009, in its Report on Foreign Policy, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Programmes on the civilian promotion of peace will in the future also seek to focus on topics necessary for ensuring the sustainability of peace processes and considered a priority for Switzerland, such as … dealing with the past.
In the context of processes for dealing with the past, Switzerland, for example, supports countries concerned in the realization of their obligations concerning … the search for missing persons … In 2008, it notably engaged in the protection of archives in Guatemala and in the treatment of the issue of missing persons in the Balkans. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2009, 2 September 2009, Section 3.3.6.2, p. 5801.
Switzerland
In 2011, Switzerland’s Federal Council issued a Communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, which stated: “Switzerland will also concretely accompany the efforts of governments and civil society actors, in a sexospecific manner, to find missing persons (exhumations)[.]” 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, 29 June 2011, p. 5909.
The Communiqué also stated:
Humanitarian dialogue in the North Caucasus
… The Centre for Civil Assistance to Search for Missing People, created in 2006, collects data about missing persons. A list of about 7000 names have been made public on internet. … Financed and assisted by the Confederation, the implementation of the project is guaranteed by two Russian non-governmental organizations and by the foundation Swisspeace. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Communiqué on the continuation of measures promoting peace and human security 2012–2016, 29 June 2011, p. 5921.
Switzerland
In 2012, in its Report on Foreign Policy 2011, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated: “Switzerland has also continued its efforts – with the support of the authorities and civil society – to improve the human security of the civilian populations in the North Caucasus, in particular through the search for persons who went missing during the armed conflicts in the 1990s.” 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on Foreign Policy 2011, 18 January 2012, p. 2761.
Uganda
In the Annexure to the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation signed between the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army/Movement in 2007, the contracting Parties,
[h]aving signed the Principal Agreement by which the parties committed themselves to implementing accountability and reconciliation with respect to the conflict;
[decided that t]he Government shall by law establish a body to be conferred with all the necessary powers and immunities [to inquire into the past and related matters], whose functions shall include:
(i) to gather and analyse information on those who have disappeared during the conflict. 
Annexure to the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation signed between the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army/Movement (LRA/M) on 29 June 2007, Juba, 19 February 2008, Preamble, Article 4(i).
United States of America
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State affirmed: “We support the principle that … each party to a conflict should search areas under its control for persons reported missing, when circumstances permit, and at the latest from the end of active hostilities.” 
United States, Remarks of Michael J. Matheson, Deputy Legal Adviser, US Department of State, The Sixth Annual American Red Cross-Washington College of Law Conference on International Humanitarian Law: A Workshop on Customary International Law and the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, American University Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 2, 1987, p. 424.
United States of America
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States stated, with respect to the civilians missing and unaccounted for: “We have a responsibility to investigate, to find out what we can.” 
United States, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3564, 10 August 1995, p. 6.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the situation in Iraq, the UN Security Council:
Noting the letter of 8 May 2003 from the Permanent Representatives of the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the President of the Security Council (S/2003/538) and recognizing the specific authorities, responsibilities, and obligations under applicable international law of these states as occupying powers under unified command (the “Authority”),
6. Calls upon the Authority and relevant organizations and individuals to continue efforts to locate, identify, and repatriate all Kuwaiti and Third-State Nationals or the remains of those present in Iraq on or after 2 August 1990, as well as the Kuwaiti archives, that the previous Iraqi regime failed to undertake, and, in this regard, directs the High-Level Coordinator, in consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Tripartite Commission and with the appropriate support of the people of Iraq and in coordination with the Authority, to take steps to fulfil his mandate with respect to the fate of Kuwaiti and Third-State National missing persons and property. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1483, 22 May 2003, preamble and § 6, voting record: 14-0-0-1.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the situation in Cyprus, the UN Security Council welcomed “the report of the Secretary-General of 26 May 2004 (S/2004/427) on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, and in particular the call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1548, 11 June 2004, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the situation in Cyprus, the UN Security Council:
Reiterating its call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness, and welcoming in this regard the resumption of the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons since August 2004. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1604, 17 June 2005, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the situation in Cyprus, the UN Security Council:
Reiterating its call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness, and welcoming in this regard the resumption of the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons since August 2004, as well as the appointment by the Secretary-General of a Third Member who will assume his duties in July 2006. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1687, 15 June 2006, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the situation in Cyprus, the UN Security Council reiterated “its call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of missing persons with due urgency and seriousness”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1728, 15 December 2006, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the situation in Cyprus, the UN Security Council:
Reiterating its call to the parties to assess and address the humanitarian issue of all missing persons with due urgency and seriousness, and welcoming in this regard the progress and continuation of the important activities of the Committee on Missing Persons; expressing the hope that this process will promote reconciliation between the communities. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1758, 15 June 2007, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In 1996, in a statement by its President on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN Security Council stated:
The Security Council is concerned that endeavours by the relevant international authorities to identify the fate of the missing by, inter alia, carrying out exhumations has met with limited success largely due to obstruction by Republika Srpska. It notes with concern that the fate of only a few hundred missing persons has so far been established.  
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1996/41, 10 October 1996, p. 1.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on missing persons, the UN General Assembly:
2. Calls upon States that are parties to an armed conflict to … account for persons reported missing…
4. Also reaffirms that each party to an armed conflict, as soon as circumstances permit and, at the latest, from the end of active hostilities, shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse party;
6. Requests States to pay the utmost attention to cases of children reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to take appropriate measures to search for and identify those children. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/189, 20 December 2004, §§ 2, 4 and 6, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on missing persons, the UN General Assembly:
2. Calls upon States that are parties to an armed conflict to … account for persons reported missing…
4. Also reaffirms that each party to an armed conflict, as soon as circumstances permit and, at the latest, from the end of active hostilities, shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse party;
7. Requests States to pay the utmost attention to cases of children reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to take appropriate measures to search for and identify those children. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/155, 19 December 2006, §§ 2, 4 and 7, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1987 on the question of human rights in Cyprus, the UN Commission on Human Rights called for the tracing of missing persons without further delay. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1987/50, 11 March 1987, p. 113, § 3, voting record: 23-3-15.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2002 on missing persons, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
3. Also reaffirms that each party to an armed conflict, as soon as circumstances permit and at the latest from the end of active hostilities, shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse party;
4. Calls upon States which are parties to an armed conflict to take immediate steps to determine the identity and fate of persons reported missing in connection with the armed conflict;
5. Requests States to pay the utmost attention to cases of children reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to take appropriate measures to search for and identify those children. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2002/60, 25 April 2002, §§ 3–5, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on missing persons, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
1. Urges States strictly to observe and respect and ensure respect for the rules of international humanitarian law, as set out in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and, for States parties, the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977;
2. Calls upon States that are parties to an armed conflict to take all appropriate measures to prevent persons from going missing in connection with armed conflict and to account for persons reported missing as a result of such a situation;
3. Reaffirms the right of families to know the fate of their relatives reported missing in connection with armed conflicts;
4. Also reaffirms that each party to an armed conflict, as soon as circumstances permit and at the latest from the end of active hostilities, shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse party;
5. Calls upon States that are parties to an armed conflict to take immediate steps to determine the identity and fate of persons reported missing in connection with the armed conflict;
6. Requests States to pay the utmost attention to cases of children reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to take appropriate measures to search for and identify those children;
7. Invites States which are parties to an armed conflict to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross in establishing the fate of missing persons and to adopt a comprehensive approach to this issue, including all practical and coordination mechanisms as may be necessary, based on humanitarian considerations only;
8. Urges States and encourages intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations to take all necessary measures at the national, regional and international levels to address the problem of persons reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to provide appropriate assistance as requested by the concerned States. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/50, 20 April 2004, §§ 1–8, voting record: 52-0-1.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the right to the truth, the UN Commission on Human Rights recalled that “article 33 of Additional Protocol I provides that the parties to an armed conflict shall search for the persons who have been reported missing, as soon as circumstances permit”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/66, 20 April 2005, preamble, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on technical cooperation and advisory services in Nepal, the UN Commission on Human Rights urged the Government of Nepal:
To take all appropriate measures to clarify the fate of all cases of persons allegedly victims of enforced disappearance, including, where appropriate, taking into account the work of the national committee and international expert bodies in this field. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/78, 20 April 2005, § 8(b), adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In 1995, the chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon the Government of Indonesia to continue its investigation into those persons missing as a result of incidents in Dili. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Chairman’s statement on the situation of human rights in East Timor, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1995/SR.49, 1 March 1995, § 27(4).
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In resolutions adopted in 1984 and 1985, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights urged that the fate of disappeared persons in the context of the conflict in Guatemala be clarified. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1984/23, 29 August 1984; Res. 1985/28, 30 August 1985, § 2.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1987, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights expressed concern at the fate of the missing in Cyprus and urged the immediate tracing of these persons. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1987/19, 2 September 1987, § 2.
UN Expert for the Special Process on Missing Persons in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia
In 1996, the Expert for the Special Process on Missing Persons in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia called upon the parties and the international community to intensify their efforts to clarify the fate of missing persons using every possible means, including exhumation of mortal remains where necessary. 
Expert for the Special Process on Missing Persons in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia, Statement during a briefing on progress reached in investigation of violations of international law in the areas of Srebrenica, Žepa, Banja Luka and Sanski Most pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1034 (1995), Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 22 August 1996, §§ 12–13.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation adopted in 1983 on the situation in Cyprus, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly asked the Committee of Ministers to instruct the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe to undertake all necessary steps to gather information on the events in Cyprus and to investigate the cases of those persons who had disappeared following the invasion by armed forces in 1974. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Rec. 974, 5 November 1983, p. 81.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation adopted in 1987 on national refugees and missing persons in Cyprus, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly urged the Committee of Ministers to support every effort made to investigate the fate of missing persons. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Rec. 1056, 5 May 1987, § 7.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation adopted in 1998 on the humanitarian situation of the Kurdish refugees and displaced persons in south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly invited Turkey to bring to light the fate of missing persons. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Rec. 1377, 25 June 1998, § iv.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1999)
The Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003 adopted in 1999 by the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent proposed that all the parties to an armed conflict take effective measures to ensure that “every effort is made to clarify the fate of all persons unaccounted for”.  
27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 31 October–6 November 1999, Res. I, Annex 2, Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003, Actions proposed for final goal 1.1, § 1(e).
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the consolidated third, fourth and fifth periodic reports of El Salvador in 2003, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee is sorry that the delegation was unable to explain the Legislative Assembly’s reasons for not approving the establishment of a national commission of inquiry to track down children who disappeared in the conflict (arts. 6, 7 and 24 [of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]).
The State Party is urged to submit detailed information on the numbers of children found alive and the numbers that died in the fighting. It is also invited to reconsider the establishment of a national commission on disappeared children and a compensation fund for young people who are found. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the consolidated third, fourth and fifth periodic reports of El Salvador, UN Doc. CCPR/CO/78/SLV, 22 August 2003, § 19.
[emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the initial report of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2006, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee notes with concern that the fate and whereabouts of some 15,000 persons who went missing during the armed conflict (1992 to 1995) remain unresolved. It reminds the State party that the family members of missing persons have the right to be informed about the fate of their relatives, and that failure to investigate the cause and circumstances of death, as well as to provide information relating to the burial sites, of missing persons increases uncertainty and, therefore, suffering inflicted to family members and may amount to a violation of article 7 of the [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]. (arts. 2(3), 6 and 7)
The State party should take immediate and effective steps to investigate all unresolved cases of missing persons and ensure without delay that the Institute for Missing Persons becomes fully operational, in accordance with the Constitutional Court’s decision of 13 August 2005. It should ensure that the central database of missing persons is finalized and accurate, that the Fund for Support to Families of Missing Persons is secured and that payments to families commence as soon as possible. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the initial report of Bosnia and Herzegovina, UN Doc. CCPR/C/BIH/CO/1, 22 November 2006, § 14.
[emphasis in original]
European Court of Human Rights
In the Cyprus case in 2001, the European Court of Human Rights found that, in relation to Greek-Cypriot missing persons and their relatives:
136. There has been a continuing violation of Article 2 [of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights] on account of the failure of the authorities of the respondent State [Turkey] to conduct an effective investigation aimed at clarifying the whereabouts and fate of Greek-Cypriot missing persons who disappeared in life-threatening circumstances. …
150. There has been a continuing violation of Article 5 of the [1950 European Convention on Human Rights] by virtue of the failure of the authorities of the respondent State [Turkey] to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of the missing Greek-Cypriot persons in respect of whom there is an arguable claim that they were in custody at the time they disappeared. 
European Court of Human Rights, Cyprus case, Judgment, 10 May 2001, §§ 136 and 150.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
In the Caballero Delgado and Santana case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 1995, the Government of Colombia submitted evidence that it had made several unsuccessful attempts to recover the remains of two missing persons. 
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Caballero Delgado and Santana case, Judgment, 8 December 1995, § 51.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that:
Each belligerent shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an enemy Party. Such enemy Party shall transmit all relevant information concerning these persons in order to facilitate the searches. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 260.
Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
According to a 1984 report of the FIDH, the Government of Lebanon has established a commission on missing and kidnapped persons. 
FIDH, Liban: Le problème des disparus, La lettre de la F.I.D.H., No. 42, 27 January 1984.
Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards
The Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights of Åbo Akademi University in Turku/Åbo, Finland in 1990, states: “Every possible measure shall be taken, without delay, to search for … missing persons.” 
Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, Turku/Åbo, 30 November–2 December 1990, Article 13, IRRC, No. 282, p. 335.