International Humanitarian Law Instruments
Name: Ms. Ana Pereira
Position: Legal counsellor at the Department of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal
The EU Member States have pledged to work towards further participation in the principal international humanitarian law instruments and other relevant legal instruments which have an impact on international humanitarian law by considering ratification of those instruments to which they are not yet all party.
Regarding the specific international humanitarian law instruments mentioned in this pledge, Portugal is able to report as follows:
- Portugal has signed the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted in New York on 20 of December 2006, on 6 February 2007, and deposited its instrument of ratification on 27 January 2014.
- Portugal has signed the Protocol Additional tow the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of An Additional distinctive Emblem (III Protocol), on 8 December 2005, and has deposited its instrument of ratification on 22 April 2014.
- Portugal is a party to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, since 4 August 2000, and to the (First) Protocol to The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, since 18 February 2005. Regarding the Second Protocol to The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Portugal is finalising internal consultation proceedings and expects to conclude the ratification process in the following months.
- Portugal is a party of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects (and to its respective protocols: Protocols I, II and III) since 4 April 1997. As for Protocol V to this convention, Portugal ratified the V Protocol on 29 October 2007 and has deposited its instrument of ratification on 22 February 2008. Protocol V entered into force in Portugal on 22 August 2008.
- Portugal has signed the Convention on the prohibition of military use of environmental modification techniques on 18 May 1977 and is finalising internal consultation proceedings, expecting to conclude the ratification process in the following months.
Portugal is also committed to continue its efforts towards effective implementation and universalisation of the Arms Trade Treaty, which it has signed on 13 June 2013 and deposited its instrument of ratification on 25 September 2014. Also on the subject of weapon trade and trafficking, on 3 June 2011 Portugal has deposited its instrument of ratification to the Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts, and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Crime, adopted in New York on 31 May 2001.
Portugal has an internal legal framework that encompasses the best international practices on the control of the trading of conventional weapons. Transfer requests are examined on a case by case basis, according to criteria established by the Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 (defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment). The recently adopted Directive (EU) 2017/853 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons will be transposed into Portuguese internal law for application in due course.