[pdf_attachment file=”1″ name=”THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS OF 12 AUGUST 1949 – FULL TEXT”]
[pdf_attachment file=”1″ name=”SUMMARY OF THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS OF 12 AUGUST 1949 AND THEIR ADDITIONAL PROTOCOLS”]
In time of war, certain humanitarian rules must be observed, even with regard to the enemy. These rules are set out mainly in the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005.
The rules set out in the four Geneva Conventions apply to international armed conflicts, i.e. the use of armed force between two or more States. Only one provision in the Geneva Conventions – Article 3 common to all four Conventions – applies to non- international armed conflicts, i.e. fighting between government armed forces and armed groups (or between armed groups themselves) where the groups possess a certain degree of organization and the violence reaches a certain level of intensity. Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions supplements the Convention’s provisions regulating international armed conflicts and broadens the definition of those conflicts to include situations in which a people is exercising its right to self-determination by fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation or racist regimes. Additional Protocol II specifically applies to certain high intensity, non-international armed conflicts between State armed forces and organized armed groups that exercise such territorial control as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations and to implement the Protocol. The subject matter of Additional Protocol III is relatively restricted compared with that of the other two Additional Protocols: it supplements the Geneva Conventions by permitting the use of an additional distinctive emblem.
The Geneva Conventions are founded on the idea of respect for the individual and his dignity. Persons not directly taking part in hostilities and those put out of action through sickness, injury, captivity or any other cause must be respected and protected against the effects of war; those who suffer must be aided and cared for without discrimination.
The Additional Protocols extend this protection to any person affected by an armed conflict. They furthermore stipulate that the parties to the conflict and individual combatants must not attack the civilian population or civilian objects and must conduct their military operations in conformity with the recognized rules of international humanitarian law.