Practice Relating to Rule 117. Accounting for Missing Persons
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.
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)[.]”
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.
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’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention
Enforced disappearances violate International humanitarian law and Human rights
. No conflict and no national security considerations can justify such disappearances. The Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was adopted in 2006 but has not yet come into force (status 2008). International humanitarian law nonetheless contains provisions on the enforced disappearance of persons following an armed conflict. In particular, their next of kin have the right to know what has happened to them.