The Geneva Conventions consist of treaties formulated in Geneva, Switzerland
that set the standards for international law for humanitarian concerns. The
conventions were the results of efforts by Henri Dunant, who was motivated
by the horrors of war he witnessed at the Battle of Solferino.
Accusations of violation of the Geneva Conventions on the part of signatory
nations are brought before the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
The conventions and their agreements are as follows:
* First Geneva Convention (1864): Treatment of battlefield casualties.
* Second Geneva Convention (1906): Extended the principles from the first
convention to apply also to war at sea.
* Third Geneva Convention (1929): Treatment of prisoners of war.
* Fourth Geneva Convention (1949): Treatment of civilians during wartime.
This First Convention also mandated the foundation of the International
Committee for the Red Cross. The text is given in the Resolutions of the
Geneva International Conference.
The first three conventions were revised, a fourth was added, and the entire
set was ratified in 1949; the whole 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 200 countries 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.
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.