See also: Geneva Convention (homonymy)
The Geneva Conventions are Traité S international fixing various rules which all the parts of an armed conflict must follow. They protect in particular the soldiers of certain actions, the casualties and prisoner of war, but also the Civil S and their goods.
- four Geneva Conventions of August 12th, 1949
- two additional protocols of June 8th, 1977 and finally, third additional protocol of 2005.
There exists however, in all more than 400|date= October 20th, 2007 Geneva Conventions , which cover many different subjects.
The First ConventionVery first Geneva Convention goes back to 1864 and was an initiative of Henry Dunant, citizen Suisse (Genevese). Shocked by its vision of the horrors made at the time of the Battle of Solférino, he wrote the book “ a Memory of Solférino ”, in which he develops two principal ideas:
- the first according to which, it would be necessary to implement in each country a company of help to come to assistance of the victims of the wars,
- the second according to which, it would be necessary to lay down legal rules to make it possible to look after the wounded soldiers and that whatever their camp
The diplomatic Conference of 1864 adopted the Geneva Convention of 1864, which marks the official birth of the humane International law. It gave the order to respect and look after the wounded or sick soldiers without any discrimination. So the ambulances and the hospitals are protected from any hostile act and will be quite recognizable with their symbol of Red Cross on white zone.
The first application to large scales of this treaty will be at the time of the First World War.
The Geneva Convention for the improvement of the fate of wounded and the patients in the armed forces in shift , currently into force, was signed on August 12th 1949. It is named " The first Convention of Genève" when one wishes to distinguish it from the three following ones.
The " First Convention" of 1949 prolongs and develops considerably that of 1864.
The Second ConventionThe Geneva Convention for the improvement of the fate of the casualties, the patients and the shipwrecked men of the armed forces on sea , currently into force, was signed on August 12th 1949. It is called " The second Convention of Genève".
Historically, the extension of the obligations of the Geneva Convention of 1864 to the naval forces constitutes also a second phase in the constitution of the " right of Genève".
The second Convention, which is at the origin of that of 1949 more developed, was written in 1906.
The Third ConventionThe Geneva Convention relating to the prisoner of war salary , currently into force, was signed on August 12th, 1949. It is called " The third Convention of Genève".
Historically, the coding of the reserved treatment to the prisoners of war constitutes also a third stage in the constitution of the " right of Genève". The third Convention, which is at the origin of that of 1949 (more developed), was written in 1929.
The " term; Prisoner of war " is defined in this Convention, it is a combatant who was captured. That can be a soldier of an army, a member of a militia, or certain civilians like the resistant ones.
It is this Convention which allows the International committee the Red Cross (ICRC) to return visit to all the prison camps of war without any restriction. The ICRC can also discuss, without witness, with the prisoners.
This Convention also fixes the limits on the general prisoner salary like:
- the obligation to humanly treat the prisoners, the Torture and all the acts of physical or psychological pressure on the latter are strictly prohibited
- the medical obligations, that it is on the level of hygiene or food
- the respect of the Religion of the prisoners.
The Fourth ConventionThe Geneva Convention relating to the protection of the civil people in time of war , currently into force, was signed the August 12th 1949. It is called " The fourth Convention of Genève".
Historically, the coding of the reserved treatment to the civilians in time of war constitutes also a third stage in the constitution of the " right of Genève". One wanted to take account of the lessons of the Second world war - and an evolution of the armed conflicts, whose main victims are, always more, the civilians.
This Convention is a compromise between the military requirements of safety (for the occupant) and the basic rights of the civilians (undergoing the occupation). It is thus a minimum realistic, intangible, which applies whatever the circumstances . This consensus of the State S goes back to 1949 and takes account of the lessons of the Second world war.
With this Convention, the civilians are clearly protected from any hostile act:
- They cannot be taken as an hostage, for example being used as human shields
- All measurements of reprisals aiming at the civilians or their goods are strictly prohibited
- the collective punishments are strictly prohibited
- the army which occupies a territory where civilians live must ensure their protection, does not have the right to off-set them and the right does not have to establish civil colonists in the territory concerned.
This Convention is very detailed and precise among all its provisions, the violation of some, which constitutes one grave offense , corresponding to a War crime. These violations are: the intentional Homicide, the Torture or inhuman treatments, including the biological experiments, the fact of causing great sufferings intentionally or of carrying gravely hurts to the physical integrity or health, the deportation or the transfer illegal, illegal detention, the fact of forcing a person protected to be useful in the armed forces from the enemy power, or that of depriving of its right to be judged regularly and impartialement according to the regulations of this Convention, the catch of Hostage S, the destruction and the appropriation of goods not justified by needs military and carried out on large scales in an illicit way and arbitrary .
An application: occupied Palestinian Territories - IVe Geneva Convention
Two Additional protocols of 1977The June 8th 1977, 2 additional protocols with Geneva Conventions were signed.
The first protocol relates to the protection of the victims at the time of the international conflicts, but also at the time of armed conflicts in which the people fight against colonial discrimination and the foreign occupation and against the racist modes in the exercise of the right of the people to have themselves (article 2).
The second protocol relates to the protection of the victims at the time of the civil wars: one speaks about not-international armed conflict, in opposition to the international armed conflicts of the First Additional protocol.
Third Additional protocol of 2005The third additional protocol of 2005, adopts a new distinctive sign which represents a red rhombus on white zone, the red crystal. This emblem allows the National companies of help to wounded not wishing to adopt the Red Cross or the red crescent as distinctive sign (it was the case of the Magen David Adom, the Israeli Company) to become member of the international Mouvement of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, and to profit from protection granted to their personnel and their material by Geneva Conventions.
Application of ConventionsIf the International committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is it guard of the humane international law and the defender of the victims of the war, the implementation of Geneva Conventions belongs to the responsibility for the States left, which begin with to respect and make respect this Convention in all circumstances .
The statute of the International penal court (CPI) expects that she judges the war crimes, i.e. the definite grave offenses like such in Geneva Conventions.
The the International Court of Justice (CIJ) can be invited to come to a conclusion about the applicability of IVe Convention on an occupied territory. It has in an advisory capacity it made in connection with the occupied Palestinian territories.
In this same case, the States left recalled the obligations of parts with the conflict (of all the parts - Israelis as Palestinians - and of all the levels - authorities like individuals), on the basis of conventional or usual humane rule in particular registered in the Fourth Geneva Convention , as well as specific obligations of Israel as an occupying Power, on the basis of provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention .
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