Israel in Lebanon
The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon
It is easy to become cynical about the relevance of law to the conduct of war. Our sensibilities are by now flooded with images of massacres and atrocities committed in the name of this or that cause. These most gross, barbaric features of warfare, as present in modern times as in ancient, remind us also that international society lacks any consistent means of law enforcement. When it comes to war the attempt to have law without government often seems, indeed, like grasping at straws.
Even the few notable instances of enforcement of international law have been tainted by elements of hypocrisy. After World War II German and Japanese leaders were prosecuted at Nuremberg and Tokyo with great fanfare; numerous lesser figures from the defeated countries were pursued by subsidiary tribunals and domestic courts. In the midst of war, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin joined in the issuance of the Moscow Declaration on German Atrocities, solemnly promising to prosecute and punish all those implicated in German outrages associated with the war. The allies included this plea in their 1943 Declaration: ‘Let those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to their accusers in order that justice may be done’. And, indeed, these general threats were carried out.
At the same time, the prosecutions were flawed in many respects. First of all, they appeared to many as ‘victor’s justice’. Not only the defeated states had strayed in the course of the war well beyond the limits oflaw. The atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are remembered along with Auschwitz and Treblinka as prime instances of barbarism. Terror bombing by conventional means of German and Japanese cities was never scrutinised by a legal body. Secondly, the main defendants seemed helpless and broken by the time they were brought to trial. What was the point, so long after the gruesome events, of hauling these individuals before judicial tribunals? At that stage, the defendants themselves, quite pathetic in most instances, often seemed like victims and elicited some public sympathy. And thirdly, the law struck many as composed to please the victors. The defendants had acted to carry out state policy, normally executing orders from the top. To impose accountability on them for acts performed in the line of official duty seemed unrealistic in a world of sovereign states.
These are formidable criticisms, but only one small part of the story. The basic justification for Nuremberg was that it was a serious start of the foundations of a more serious framework of law and responsibility bearing on the subject-matter of war. Furthermore, the prosecutions after World War II did perform a valuable educative role. The public became aware, especially in the German cases, of the full extent ofN azi depravity in and out of war. And most important of all, the broad issues of individual responsibility for violations oflaw in relation to war were fully explored. The General Assembly of the United Nations at its first session unanimously endorsed a set of principles drawn from those judicial proceedings; these formulations were then put in more authoritative form in 1950 by the expert legal body of the United Nations, the International Law Commission.
Principle VI usefully specifies the scope of this Commission’s undertaking, conceived in its broadest. sense:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplish-ment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War Crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of, or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, want0n destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with, crime against peace or any war crime.
The distinguished American prosecutor at Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson, formerly a US Supreme Court Justice, made this famous assertion in his opening statement: ‘And let me make clear that if this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.’ This crucial promise to the future has not been kept. There have been no serious consistent efforts since 1945 to apply these legal standards, at official levels, despite the numerous occasions on which the law of war has been flagrantly violated by one or another participant. Governments have failed to carry out their responsibility. It is with a keen sense of this failure that this Commission proceeds to report and analyse allegations of legal violations in the context of a single war. The motivation here is to build public pressure for law enforcement against Israel as a violator of the international law of war and, more broadly, to create a climate in which public opinion insists upon adherence by all states and political movements to the international law relative to war.
Again sceptical reactions are bound to arise. Some will say this is play-acting, or an arbitrary singling out of Israel for condemnation on purely political grounds. Others will echo the famous reflections on war by Prince Andre, Tolstoy’s great character in War and Peace, that the only way to proceed is to make war so hellish that distaste for its reality will finally so disgust the public and its leaders as to produce a sufficient movement for permanent peace. In Prince Andre’s words, ‘Take no prisoners but kill and be killed! . . . If there were none of this magnanimity of war, we should go to war only when it was worthwhile going to certain death, as now. . . War is not a courtesy, but the most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that, and not play at war. . .’ Of course war has become more terrible than when Tolstoy was alive, and yet wars occur with an increasing frequency in international life. Even Tolstoy, later in his life, came to realise that brutalising war was not a path to peace, but only a path to greater brutality. In his later writings, Tolstoy consistently emphasised the ethos of absolute pacifism – war is so terrible that there can be no ethical justification for participation or endorsement, regardless of circumstances.
In our time, many people believed that the development of nuclear weapons, whatever else, would make the world too dangerous for war. Now almost four decades later we know better. Since 1945 there have been at least 125 major wars causing somewhere between 10 and 20,000,000 deaths, as well as untold suffering and physical devastation. We cannot say that warfare is outmoded in the current practice of states. In fact there is an unprecedented arms face and arms build-up going on in virtually every corner of the planet, extending even to the ocean depths and to the far reaches of space. $600,000,000,000 was consumed on war preparation in 1982, and the figure is expected to go still higher in ensuing years. Rising military budgets have a general effect of heightening tensions, each side justifying its diversion of resources by reference to the terrible intentions and awesome capabilities of one or more foreign ‘enemy’. A political dynamic centring on hatred can, and does, easily spill over into warfare, especially at a time of world economic stagnation and recession, with its
accompanying mass misery.
In these circumstances, it seems more necessary than ever before to protect the public’s well-being to whatever extent possible by working for more effective implementation of the existing law of war. Further extensions by way of legal codification and procedures can come later, and would provide useful clarification and authority. For now, what counts is the law on the books, and there is plenty.
In essence, the fundamental effort of law in this area is to prohibit aggressive recourse to war in the first instance, and then should war occur, to regulate the conduct of the war to protect the innocent, minimise the suffering caused to combat personnel and restrict overall damage. The basic effort of international law has been to prohibit all recourse to war except in compelling circumstances of self-defence. Article 51 of the UN Charter embodies this conception in its authorisation that force can only be used by a state in self-defence against a prior armed attack, and even then only provisionally until the Security Council gives its stamp of approval. The central importance accorded to the outlawry of aggression was well stated in the Nuremberg Judgment: ‘To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole’.
Once war ensues, regardless of which side should be viewed as aggressor, the role of law relative to combat circumstances is pervasive. Hugo Grotius, the founder of modern international law, was inspired in the early seventeenth century to write his great treatise on war by the various outrages committed in the name of war that he directly observed in the Thirty Years’ War, then raging in north-central Europe. It is that resolve to resist unrestricted violence and cruelty, even if justified by the State in the name of war and military necessity, that continues today to give force and authority to the case for upholding the law of war, for publicising violations as a form of censure, and for calling upon states and international institutions to do their legal and moral duty to apprehend and punish those responsible for violations so as to build a tradition of greater respect for law.
There is one kind of contemporary war that particularly tempts the militarily more sophisticated side to depart from the more elementary, minimum content of the laws of war – namely, wars fought in the Third World against movements of national revolution. In these wars, the high technology tactics and weaponry of the counter-revolutionary or status quo actor is almost inevitably directed against the people themselves. This process became very evident in the course of the American involvement in the Vietnam war. This Commission believes it is a salient feature of the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, and culminated in complicity by Israeli military and civilian officialdom in the massacres carried out by the Lebanese militias (Phalange, Haddad) in the Beirut camps of Chatila and Sabra between 16 and 18 September 1982. These massacres were low-technology sequels to earlier high-technology saturation bombardment by Israel from land, sea and air of every major Palestinian camp situated anywhere near the combat zone throughout southern Lebanon. The
underlying Israeli objective seems clearly directed at making the Palestinian camps uninhabitable in a physical sense as well as terrorising the inhabitants and thereby breaking the will of the Palestinian national movement, not only in the war zone of Lebanon, but possibly even more centrally, in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
This kind of war effort tends to obliterate the very idea of innocence as fully in its own way as does nuclear war. Here, often the belligerent objective is ‘the people’ as a whole; in truth ‘the fighters’ are not posing much of a threat and in purely military terms are hardly a match, at least not until late in a national struggle when the government and its allies are confronting a fully mobilised and hostile population. This was the situation late in 1978 during the last stages of the Iranian revolution. The Shah had, finally, no option but to relinq uish power or to engage the armed forces in the mindless slaughter of the Iranian people. His abdication may have saved, at the time, several hundred thousand lives. It must also be understood that the liberation side may contribute by its tactics and methods to the erosion of ‘innocence’, if not in war itself, then assuredly in its background. Recourse to ‘terrorism’ by liberation groups, especially to the extent it is relied upon within a framework of struggle and war is relevant to an understanding of charges and counter-charges. In this instance, we are mindful of attributions of terrorism to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as well as allegations that the PLO was using Lebanese soil to train a wide array of foreign terrorist groups. We note these arguments, but would separate their assessment from our enquiry into the main allegations arising from the Lebanon war, that is, those directed against Israel. We will take into account allegations concerning PLO conduct to the extent they bear on a specific line of defence by Israel.
The point here is that the traditional law of war needs to be brought to bear with particular strength in relation to this species of war. States have been slow to adapt the law of war explicitly to the subject matter of national revolution, and yet ‘wars of national liberation’ enjoy a special legitimacy as a result of their endorsement by law-making United Nations resolutions. The Algiers Declaration of the Rights of the People (1976) furthermore expressly asserts in its Article 29 that ‘Liberation movements shall have access to international organisations and their combatants are entitled to the protection of the humanitarian law of war’.
The scope of the Commission’s enquiry embraces both recourse to war and the conduct of war (including the occupation of any territory acquired). The initial, basic allegation considered by the Commission concerned Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. Did this invasion satisfy the requirements of international law governing recourse to force across an international boundary? The international law here is quite simple, although its application can often be controversial, given different appreciations of the underlying facts and variant interpretations of the content of the basic legal ideas. In essence, by virtue of the Pact of Paris (1928) states renounced the right to use force in international disputes except for purposes of self- defence. This obligation was originally a treaty rule binding only on the parties to the Treaty but has since been construed by virtually all commentators on international law as having acquired the status of general law, and even more of having acquired the status of what international lawyers call jus cogens (a rule that takes precedence over other valid rules of international law and can never be changed). This underlying conception has been embodied in the Charter of the United Nations which is itself a treaty binding on all members, including Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Article 2(4) of the Charter contains a general prohibition on recourse to force and Article 5l affirms the right of self-defence in the limited circumstance of response to a prior armed attack. The legal argument is somewhat more complicated than this distinction between aggression and self-defence, but not much more so. In essence, the first concern of the Report involves an investigation of the central allegation that Israel’s invasion of and attacks upon the Lebanon on 6 June 1982 constituted the initiation of aggressive war for which no adequate legal defence is available.
What is most necessary is to restore the basic framework of law to govern the conduct of all combatants in war, but especially the high technology combatants. This basic framework consists of a long list of treaties that try to set down basic rules applicable to conflicts with res pect to tactics; weaponry; treatment of prisoners, wounded and civilians; belligerent occupation. These treaties balance off the pressures to accommodate military necessity with the protection of innocents, civilian values and artefacts and the human rights of soldiers. Putting the law of war in the form of written declaration or agreement commenced in the mid-nineteenth century and has proceeded continuously up to the present time: the l864 Geneva Convention on wounded and sick; the famous 1868 St Petersburg Declaration on the laws and customs of war. The most celebrated series of treaties comprising the law of war were negotiated at the two Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, which in all produced sixteen agreements and four declarations, dealing with a variety of topics, including the means of conducting warfare and detailing, in particular, the law of land and maritime warfare. There were additional treaties negotiated in the 1920s that have some importance, including the 1925 Geneva Protocol on gas and bacteriological warfare, the 1929 Geneva Convention on wounded and sick, the 1929 Geneva Convention on prisoners of war, the 1930 London Treaty on naval armaments and warfare, and the 1936 London Proces-Verbal on submarine warfare. Each of these agreements was signed and entered into force.
After World War II, a further series of agreements and declaratory documents pertaining to the law of war have been concluded. In 1948 the Genocide Convention was adopted. Then in 1949 at a large diplomatic conference the four very basic Geneva Conventions dealing with humanitarian law were drafted after eleborate negotiations and finally adopted: I, II relating to the treatment of the wounded and sick; III relating to prisoners of war; IV relating to treatment of civilians. Additional steps to codify the modern law of war occurred subsequently. Especially notable were the two 1977 Geneva Protocols on victims of armed conflicts and the 1981 UN Convention on specific conventional weapons.
The rapid development of the international law of human rights and the passage of numerous United Nations resolutions and declarations bearing on the law of war have also clarified guidelines for permissible behaviour.
It is important to note the continuity of judgment by major governments that it has been worthwhile to put in writing the obligatory content of international law pertaining to war. As a result, a vast corpus of rules, principles and guidelines now exists. Virtually every government acknowledges the obligatory character of the law of war and none claims the authority to conduct a war without adherence to this legal framework. That is, the law of war enjoys a universal acceptance, at least on an ethical and psychological level, and this acceptance has formal significance. Governments, regardless of ideological or cultural background, do not claim discretion to interpret state sovereignty in absolute terms when it comes to war, and have even endorsed the revolutionary idea that the leaders of sovereign states responsible for serious breaches of the law of war should be held personally and criminally accountable.
It is necessary to point out that there are special problems associated with wars involving at their core issues of national revolution. Governments that designate their enemies as ‘terrorists’ or ‘criminals’ tend to treat the conflict as outside the law. The irony here is very great because it is in these conflicts where the need for law is the greatest – that is, where battlefield tactics often tend to concentrate their firepower on civilians, civilian sanctuaries (hospitals, churches, schools) and cultural centres, and to ignore the distinction between military and non-military. This refusal to be bound by law partly reflects the ideological struggle for legitimacy that lies at the centre of such conflicts and, partly, it involves a perverse or extremist view as to the requirements of ‘military necessity’ for the high technology guarantors of the status quo. Such an orientation is pertinent to our enquiry into the general denial by Israel of the applicability of the laws of war in its warfare with the PLO.
This refusal by governments to be bound by law in a certain category of conflicts underscores the extent to which we are still dealing with a ‘voluntary’ system of law at the state level. If the perception of mutual self-interest is not present, then either the legal guidelines cannot be negotiated or states will ignore them under the pressures of expediency. This generalisation is illustrated by the failure of the law of war to restrict technological innovations in weaponry and tactics during this century: submarine and air warfare, rockets and projectiles, and nuclear weapons are the most spectacular instances. The only record of success, and even this is mixed, is the effort to restrict the use of poisons and bacteria as battlefield weapons. Governments have become creatures of their doctrines about the primacy of state interests when it comes to national security policy. Everything gives way to the effort to prevail in war, the true heritage of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Clausewitz.
Yet, even the law itself upholds a reaction against such excess. There is built into the idea and history of the law of war a powerful influence from natural law thinking that preceded the specific agreements. The just war tradition on recourse to war and the ancient and mediaeval ideas of decency and chivalry regarding the conduct of war recognise certain elementary principles of justice and fairness as immutable, binding on all human activity quite independently of any further show of governmental consent by way of explicit agreement. One task of citizen groups and international organisations is to insist that this natural law content not be abridged by states. This Commission has acted on the basis of this understanding of international law.
In actuality, customary international law provides the bridge between specific agreements and natural law. Even governments accept the view prevailing among specialists that agreements on the laws of war generally reduce to more precise written form principles of law already deemed binding through a combination of diplomatic practice, expert commentary, consensus as to natural law content and, more recently, the acts and resolutions of international and private bodies, especially the General Assembly of the United Nations, expressing the collective will and conscience of the international community. Agreements may reflect their tendency to embody pre-existing law by their textual language. For instance, in Article 1 of the Genocide Convention the parties to the agreement ‘confirm that genocide. . . is a crime under international law’ (emphasis added), adverting to the fact that genocide was a crime before it was textually declared to be so. This organic link between written and unwritten guidelines for the law of war has a number of consequences. For one thing, it may make the signature and ratification of a particular agreement by a given government less important, or even unimportant, in relation to the assessment of obligations to be bound. Secondly, it can make new subject-matter – conflicts, tactics, weapons subject to legal guidelines prior to explicit agreement. For instance, Article 36 of the Geneva Protocol I of 1977 declared: ‘In the study, development, acquisition or adoption of a new weapon, means or method of warfare, a High Contracting Party is under an obligation to determine whether its employment would, in some or all other circumstances, be prohibited by this Protocol or by any other international law to the High Contracting Party.’ Thirdly, it means that some issues are more susceptible to modification or control by expression of objections to proposed guidelines or prohibitions by governments of states.
It is crucial to understand, however, the extent to which customary international law provides a comprehensive framework for assessing all aspects of contested behaviour in a war.
This special reliance on the general background of international law to complete what has been written and accepted in treaty forms was explicitly recognised in the so-called Martens Clause, appearing in the Preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention II:
Note the three sources of supplementary content for the international law of war enumerated above. The status of this general conception was reaffirmed in an extraordinary manner in 1949 by the inclusion of a treaty provision in each of the four Geneva Conventions on the humanitarian dimension of the law of war adopted at that time, declaring that even if a state denounces the agreements this shall in no way impair the obligations which the Parties to the conflict shall remain bound to fulfill by virtue of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilised peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of public conscience. (The same language is repeated in the preamble to the
1977 Geneva Protocols and the 1981 UN Weapons Convention).
The more specific and applied Content of the law of war can be deduced from four basic principles that comprise the content of general international law (that is, the three Martens categories and customary international law):
1. Principle of Necessity
A prohibition upon methods, tactics and weapons calculated to inflict unnecessary suffering, death or destruction; the content of necessity is associated with the belligerent destruction of enemy armed forces and military targets;
2. Principle of Discrimination
A requirement that methods, tactics and weapons employed are used in such a way as to discriminate between military and non-military targets and between combatants and civilians; the emphasis on discrimination is designed to uphold in the course of war the ideas of innocence and of sanctuary or protected places;
3. Principle of Proportionality
A requirement that the military means used bear a reasonable relationship to the military ends being pursued; this requirement is designed to give real force to the prohibition upon excessiveness in the use of force;
4. Principle of Humanity
An absolute prohibition upon methods, tactics and weapons of warfare that are inherently cruel and that have been identified as such by an international ethical consensus; this prohibition is unconditional to underscore the forbidden status of certain practices (e.g. torture), regardless of alleged battlefield justifications.
It should be obvious that such broad principles oflaw are not self-defining. A considerable battlefield and command discretion as to what is necessary and proportional is allowed. At the same time, it needs to be understood that claims of’ military necessity’ do not enlarge upon this discretion or abridge other requirements and prohibitions of the law of war. The doctrine of military necessity has been taken into account in fashioning treaty rules and crystallising the general principles of customary international law. Hence, no separate grounds exist for the suspension of legal obligations due to political or military pressures. Nor are conduct rules and appraisals influenced by the legality, or not, of the underlying or initiating use of force. The aggressor and the victims of aggression are on the same legal footing when it comes to the conduct of war, and the applicability of its rules.
International law, like all law, develops through experience. Its specific content needs to be assessed in the context of controversy and concern. It is up to those making the legal appraisal to exhibit objectivity, respect for the evidence, for adverse perceptions of law and fact, and for the complexities of circumstances. This Commission has sought to be especially sensitive to these considerations in view of its special character. Our claim in this Report is that we have made every effort to gather evidence now available, to appraise it fairly and to balance the incompleteness of the evidence against the importance we attached to the issuance of a report at the earliest possible time.
The Commission operated within constraints of skills, resources and capabilities. Unlike, for instance, the Israeli Judicial Enquiry into the Chatila and Sabra massacres, our Commission lacked any formal competence to compel testimony or even to administer oaths. Our proceedings were not shaped, either, by any technical conception of the admissibility or the relevance of testimony. At the same time, we sought to validate the information available to us, partly by obtaining confirmatory evidence from distinct and diverse sources whenever possible, partly by checking with a vast corpus of documentary and journalistic material (a task facilitated by the Research Staff and the Commission Secretariat in London), partly by extensive cross-questioning of witnesses by Commission members, and partly by a requirement that any major witness or presentation of evidence be heard by two or more Commission members. The Commission also refused to validate certain allegations despite receiving uncontested evidence (e.g. an alleged use by Israel of weapons designed to be picked up as ‘toys’) because the nature of the charge could not be substantiated sufficiently to satisfy our sense of its having been established as true beyond a reasonable doubt; one element operating here was our inability to confirm in a tangible way the allegations made.
An additional concern arose out of the tense atmosphere surrounding our evidence-taking in both Lebanon and Israel. We granted witnesses whatever confidentiality they requested. Many witnesses or potential witnesses were fearful of recriminations or punishments that might be visited upon them at a later stage if it became known that they contributed to the work of the Commission. In some situations, the Commission has withheld the identity of a witness despite the absence of such a request because of our own sense that jeopardy could result.
As the official policies of the State of Israel were the centre of our concern we sought in every way to give the Israeli authorities a full opportunity to be heard. As noted in the Preface, the Chairman of the Commission wrote a letter to Prime Minister Begin, formally requesting Israeli cooperation with the work of the Commission. The request was denied and the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement advising Israeli citizens not to cooperate. Hence, the Commission was unable to obtain direct testimony from leading Israeli officials. The Commission did advertise its existence in leading newspapers in Israel, inviting anyone in Israel with any evidence bearing on the allegations or their refutation to come forward. Several Israeli witnesses favourable to government policies in the Lebanon War did come forward and were fully heard. The Commission also developed contacts of its own to receive as full a presentation of Israeli perspectives as possible. We do not pretend that the Commission’s hearings cover fully the official lines of Israeli defence against the allegations covered in our Report. Extensive documentary and journalistic sources were available and used widely to complete the picture. The Commission has considered the best legal defences open to Israel with respect to these allegations, regardless of whether such a defence has been in fact directly relied upon by Israel. In this respect the Commission has proceeded by giving Israel as much protection as possible against these very serious allegations.
A commission without a formal mandate from a government or an international institUtion is a very specific kind of legal creature. It owes its legitimacy to its performance and to the integrity of its sponsoring and disseminating process, as well as to the reputation and abilities of its members and sponsors.
In the fullest sense, all peoples share an interest in achieving a more lawful world. The failure of governments to uphold the law of war, either with respect to recourse to war or to its conduct, creates a normative vacuum in relation to the most serious questions confronting humanity. This Commission, through its Report, seeks to tell the legal story of one notable war directly involving Israel, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The Commission has ambitions that are even broader. In calling attention to serious Israeli violations of international law, we believe that public opinion and official bodies should not only support the Conclusions and Recommendations we put forward, but also become alert to the urgency of bringing law far more effectively to bear on the initial decision of a government to use force as an instrument of national policy, and then on the subsequent use ()f force in the course of combat. We regard these wider ambitions of our Commission’s Report to be a fulfilment of the original intentions of the United N ations Charter, as well as carrying out the solemn promise to the future contained in the Nuremberg Judgment and Principles.
The Commission is painfully aware that it lacks any capability to implement its Recommendations. International law as a whole is notoriously weak when it comes to sanctions and enforcement.
This Commission makes no pretence to enforce anything. Its Report is in the nature of a public document, an international citizens’ White Paper: that is – in the final analysis – an appeal to the conscience and wisdom of the governments involved, of international society as a whole, and of the conscience and concerns of peoples throughout the world.
Finally, the Commission is concerned with peace and justice for all the parties to this conflict. Its Report is offered as a contribution to this end.