Guatamala’s experience in the implementation of the CCM
María Eugenia Villareal, member of ECPAT and the Human Security in Latin America and the Caribbean (Sehlac) network today gave a presentation on the effective implementation of the convention in her country, Guatemala.
Villareal outlined the main steps taken to adapt the convention to existing legislation and the prohibitions and direct or indirect prohibitions considered under article 1. She mentioned the different bodies and parties involved in the process and detailed the role played by the Guatemalan Commission for the Application of International Humanitarian Law, which comprises several government bodies and is presided over by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This commission analyzed existing national laws to check they met the obligations of the convention.
Finally, she laid out a series of recommendations for other states to consider regarding the development of a national implementation law.
1) Legislation should be drafted by a multidisciplinary working group comprising diverse government institutions because legislation of this type requires a range of focuses: technical, political, security, humanitarian, etc.
2) This task may be taken on by the commission for international humanitarian law (CIHL) in the country in question, as it was in Guatemala’s case. If no such commission exists, or does not function adequately, another group will have to be created, preferably overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
3) The CIHL or other working group should begin by studying existing legislation to determine whether it covers the obligations of the CCM.
4) Collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law and the Cluster Munitions Coalition should be sought in order to ensure high standards in the legislation. Both organizations have expert knowledge in the area.
5) It is important to bear in mind that the norms to be adopted in legislation may depend on whether or not cluster munitions exist in the country in question. If the country has stockpiles or remainders of cluster munitions, legislation must take into account specific aspects of the convention pertaining to these issues.
6) To be approved by the legislative body, the draft bill should be sponsored by a legislator or member of parliament or legislator with whom it is possible to maintain continuous contact and who, preferably, has participated in the working group that created the draft.