Minnesota Journal of International Law
The four Geneva Conventions 1 and the two Additional Protocols of 1977 2 generally lack authoritative mechanisms for interpretation. Interpretation and application of these treaties are principally left to the judgment of the states that are parties to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols 3 and, increasingly, to the International Criminal Court and international tribunals. 4 The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) encourages states parties to comply with their obligations under humanitarian law, but it is not an adjudicative body 5 and rarely publishes its authoritative interpretations of the Geneva Conventions and Protocols. 6 Article 90 of Additional Protocol I authorizes the establishment of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. 7 While seventy states have accepted the competence of the Commission - which has been ready for activities since Article 90 came into force in 1991 - the parties to armed conflicts have yet to call upon it. 8
David Weissbrodt, The Approach of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to Interpreting and Applying International Humanitarian Law, 19 Minn. J. Int'l L. 327 (2010), available at http://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/222.