Practice Relating to Rule 139. Respect for International Humanitarian Law
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009) states: “Under this [1949 Geneva] Convention [I], the High Contracting Parties undertake to: … respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances.”
Mexico’s IHL Guidelines (2009) states:
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide military personnel with a brief and concise overview of the general principles of international humanitarian law, also known as the law of war or the international law of armed conflict. They provide commanders and their subordinates with a quick and ready reference and outline how a professional combatant must act, when engaged in military operations, to comply with the rules established in the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and other international treaties to which Mexico is party. … Moreover, they are a valuable tool for disseminating the doctrine and culture of the rules of international humanitarian law.
Mexico’s Order establishing the IHL Commission (2009) states:
The Interdepartmental Commission on International Humanitarian Law, whose acronym is CIDIH-Mexico, is hereby permanently established as a consultative and technical organ of the Federal Government whose objective is to … promote respect for the norms, principles and institutions of international humanitarian law and to advance the implementation at the national and international level of the obligations acquired by Mexico by virtue of being a party to international treaties in this field.
The Order also states:
In order to fulfil its objectives, the Commission shall have the following tasks:
I. Formulate recommendations and elaborate draft legislation on measures to be taken for the effective application of the norms of international humanitarian law contained in international treaties to which Mexico is a party with the purpose of facilitating their implementation in legislation, rules, regulations and administrative practices.
III. Promote the implementation and continuous updating of the actions necessary to comply with the obligations contained in the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the other instruments of international humanitarian law to which the State of Mexico is a party.
In comments on the text of the Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, submitted in 1995 to the UN Commission on Human Rights, Mexico mentioned “the principle that States parties to the Geneva Conventions are under an obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law”.
In 2007, during a debate on the reaffirmation and implementation of international humanitarian law at the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Mexico stated:
In the opinion of Mexico, the great variety of actors [involved in contemporary armed conflicts] must not result in vague or inaccurate interpretations of the application of International Humanitarian Law. Therefore, Mexico considers that all parties to an armed conflict must respect International Humanitarian Law, and the applicable International Human Rights Law and International Refugee Law. In this respect, Mexico welcomes the initiative of the Swiss Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) concerning the participation of private security companies in contemporary armed conflicts.
In 2008, in response to the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, the Government of Mexico stated:
On 1 January 2008, the Ministry of Defence (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA)) issued Press Release No. 001, announcing that “in order to strengthen the legal structure of the Ministry of Defence and to ensure that all activities of the Land and Air Forces are conducted with respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, on 1 January 2008 approval was given to the General Directorate of Human Rights,” which shall have, inter alia, the following functions:
a) To advise this Ministry on matters of human rights and international humanitarian law;
b) To attend to human rights complaints submitted by public organs for the defence of human rights and by international organs;
c) To propose actions aimed at consolidating a culture of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law in the Armed Forces;
d) To assist agencies of the Federal Executive which so request in fulfilling international commitments assumed by Mexico in this regard;
e) To grant intervention to organs of this agency so that they may, within their sphere of competence, implement administrative or penal procedures appropriate to the resolution of matters in this area.
In 2010, during a special session on international humanitarian law of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Organization of American States, the representative of Mexico stated:
With last year’s establishment of the Interdepartmental Commission on International Humanitarian Law [CIDIH-Mexico], Mexico joined the group of States that have specific consultative organs on international humanitarian law (IHL).
A permanent technical organ established by presidential decree, CIDIH-Mexico’s main objective is to coordinate the federal government’s efforts to implement in the domestic legal system the various commitments that Mexico has made in the field of IHL.
The establishment of the Commission allows us to reaffirm Mexico’s commitment to the development, strengthening and promotion of IHL, to pursue efforts to adopt the necessary legislation and to take the necessary domestic measures with a view to ensuring the national application of IHL.
In 2010, in its report to the UN General Assembly on the status of the 1977 Additional Protocols, Mexico stated:
In order to establish an institutional framework for activities concerning promotion and dissemination of respect for the rules, principles and institutions of international humanitarian law and its effective application within Mexico, on 19 August 2009 the Official Gazette published the Executive Agreement establishing the permanent Inter-Ministerial Commission on International Humanitarian Law; it came into force on the following day.
The Commission is a permanent advisory and technical body of the Federal Executive branch; its main purpose is to coordinate the Federal Government’s efforts with respect to international humanitarian law by … promoting the rules, principles and institutions pertaining to such law and facilitating harmonization of domestic law with Mexico’s international commitments.
Mexico also stated: “One of the … functions [of the Inter-Ministerial Commission on International Humanitarian Law] is to recommend measures to facilitate the application of international humanitarian law … through domestic law.”
In 2010, at the First Meeting of States Parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, Mexico stated:
As a State committed to ensuring respect for International Humanitarian Law and to control inhuman weapons, Mexico shall seek to promote the universality of this instrument [i.e. the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions] as one of the main items on its regional and multilateral agenda.
In 2010, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the permanent representative of Mexico stated:
Our obligation to respect and enforce respect for international humanitarian law requires us not only to make use of the instruments at our disposal to ensure peace, security and international justice, but also to formulate a robust culture of respect that does away with impunity and repairs the harm inflicted on civilians in armed conflict.