8 April 2017
The International Verification Commission (IVC) was established on 28 September 2011 to verify Euskadi Ta Askatasuna’s (ETA) declaration of a definitive end of violence. For the past six years, the Commission, together with Basque institutions and Basque civil society, has worked towards achieving an orderly end of violence. Since its establishment, the Commission has verified that ETA has fulfilled its commitment to cease all violent actions.
In January 2014, the Commission verified that ETA had put beyond operational use a specified quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives. This was the first step towards ETA’s disarmament.
On 27 March and 6 April 2017, respectively, the Navarre and Basque parliaments resolved that the Commission “continue to use its good offices to achieve” the “unilateral, complete, definitive and verified” disarmament of ETA.
In pursuance of that objective, today the Commission received, from Jean-Noël Etcheverry, a representative of Basque civil society, information regarding the location of ETA’s weapons, ammunition and explosives. This information was immediately conveyed to the relevant French authorities, who will now secure and collect ETA’s arsenal. The Commission will not be involved in this stage. The Commission believes that this step constitutes the disarmament of ETA.
The handover of information by civil society representatives took place in the City Hall of Bayonne at the invitation and in the presence of the Mayor of Bayonne Jean-René Etchegaray. It was also witnessed by His Grace Matteo Zuppi, the Archbishop of Bologna, and the Reverend Harold Good, former President of the Methodist Church in Ireland.
Since 2011 the Commission has worked closely with Basque political and social actors, including the Basque Government, political parties, trade unions, the business confederation and the Basque Catholic Church. The Commission would also like to thank the President of the Basque Country, Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, for his support over these years. The Commission is grateful for all of their assistance and cooperation in its task of verifying the ceasefire and the end of violence.
The Commission trusts that, with the support of all relevant actors, this historic step will help consolidate peace and coexistence in Basque society.
The Commission consists of the following members:
- Ronald Kasrils, former Minister of Intelligence and Deputy Defence Minister of South Africa.
- Chris Maccabe, former Political Director of the Northern Ireland Office of the United Kingdom.
- Ram Manikkalingam, Chairman of the IVC. Director of Dialogue Advisory Group and Professor at Amsterdam University, and former Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka for negotiations with the Tamil Tigers.
- Satish Nambiar, former Deputy Chief of the Indian Army and former Commander and Head of Mission of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia in 1992 and 1993.
- Fleur Ravensbergen, Assistant Director of Dialogue Advisory Group.
- Aracelly Santana, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Deputy Head of Mission, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UMIN) and former Director, Americas Office in the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.