The Code of Conduct – one of the most important normative OSCE documents
Almost 25 years after its adoption in December 1994 (entry into force on 1 January 1995), the OSCE Code of Conduct on politico-military aspects of security has lost none of its relevance. It takes up fundamental OSCE principles, such as the recognition of state sovereignty, territorial integrity and the inviolability of borders, a commitment to peaceful conflict resolution, renunciation of the threat of force, and states’ right to choose their alliances freely. These principles are extremely pertinent for a peaceful Euro Atlantic security order today.
The Code has been one of the most important normative OSCE documents since the early 1990s. It contains politically binding rules on the OSCE participating States’ deployment of armed forces both at home and abroad, the democratic control of armed forces and other armed state organs, and teaching soldiers about international humanitarian law. This strengthens the political neutrality of the armed forces and makes it easier for soldiers to exercise their civil rights. The German Government attaches great importance to these principles, especially in view of Germany’s history. Through the Code of Conduct, these norms – which are already enshrined in many national regulations – have become international norms, having been declared a “matter of direct and legitimate concern” to all participating States (cf. paragraph 1 of the Code).
With its comprehensive objectives based on the rule of law, the Code goes beyond the OSCE’s politico-military dimension to create a close connection with the human dimension of the OSCE acquis. The Code became more important with the decision in 2003 to include information on national counter-terrorism efforts in the OSCE participating States’ reports.
Implementation reports and review conferences
The Code’s main tools are the annual exchange of information by means of participating States’ implementation reports and regular review conferences. At the beginning of 2008, the OSCE Forum for Security Co operation (FSC) decided to publish all Code implementation reports on the OSCE website. Germany is working to ensure better use and more detailed evaluation of the data collated through the exchange of information. You will find the Federal Republic of Germany’s current exchange of information here.