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Geneva Conventions



    The Geneva Conventions consist of four treaties formulated in Geneva, Switzerland, that set the standards for international law for humanitarian concerns.

They chiefly concern the treatment of non-combatants and prisoners of war. They do not affect the use of weapons in war, which are covered by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the Geneva Protocol on the use of gas and biological weapons of 1925.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Background

The Conventions were the results of efforts by Henry Dunant, who was motivated by the horrors of war he witnessed at the Battle of Solferino in 1859. In 1977 and 2005 three separate amendments were made part of the Geneva Conventions.

The adoption of the First Convention followed the foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863. The text is given in the Resolutions of the Geneva International Conference, Geneva, 26-29 October 1863.

As of 2 August 2006,[1] when the Republic of Montenegro adopted the four conventions, they have been ratified by 194 countries.

As per article 49, 50, 129 and 146 of the Geneva Conventions I, II, III and IV, respectively, all signatory states are required to enact sufficient national laws that make grave violations of the Geneva Conventions a punishable criminal offense.

The conventions and their agreements

  • First Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field" (first adopted in 1864, last revision in 1949)
  • Second Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea" (first adopted in 1949, successor of the 1907 Hague Convention X)
  • Third Geneva Convention "relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War" (first adopted in 1929, last revision in 1949)
  • Fourth Geneva Convention "relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War" (first adopted in 1949, based on parts of the 1907 Hague Convention IV)

In addition, there are three additional amendment protocols to the Geneva Convention:

  • Protocol I (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007 it had been ratified by 167 countries.
  • Protocol II (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007 it had been ratified by 163 countries.
  • Protocol III (2005): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. As of June 2007 it had been ratified by 17 countries and signed but not yet ratified by an additional 68 countries.

All four conventions were last revised and ratified in 1949, based on previous revisions and partly on some of the 1907 Hague Conventions; the whole set is referred to as the "Geneva Conventions of 1949" or simply the "Geneva Conventions". Later conferences have added provisions prohibiting certain methods of warfare and addressing issues of civil wars. Nearly all 200 countries of the world are "signatory" nations, in that they have ratified these conventions.

Clara Barton was instrumental in campaigning for the ratification of the First Geneva Convention by the United States; the U.S. signed in 1882. By the Fourth Geneva Convention some 47 nations had ratified the agreements.

See also

References

  1. ^ State Parties / Signatories: Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949. International Humanitarian Law. International Committee of the Red Cross. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Geneva_Conventions". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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