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Sample Essay on Geneva Conventions

May 17th, 2016

geneva conventions

Geneva Conventions are international agreements, concluded between 1864 and 1949. They include four treaties and three additional protocols which set the standards of international law for ameliorating the effects of war on soldiers, prisoners of war and civilians.

In 1864 twelve European nations signed an agreement, which stated that during future wars they should care for all wounded and sick militaries on land regardless of nationality. The neutrality of medical personnel was recognised as well. The agreement was called the Geneva Convention, which concerned only militaries wounded on the battlefield. Later it was expanded to cover every person caught up in conflicts.In 1949 four Geneva Conventions were composed, which covered armed forces, prisoners of war, and civilians. The Second Convention covered the sick, wounded and shipwrecked militaries at sea during war. The third one referred to prisoners of war claiming that they should be released and repatriated after the termination of active hostilities. The Fourth Geneva Convention ensured civilians protection.In 1977 two additional protocols were signed at a diplomatic conference. The First Protocol concerned international conflicts, the Second one covered non-international conflicts. In 2005 the Third Protocol was added to the Convention. It regarded the additional distinctive emblems.

The main points of the Geneva Conventions are the following:

The wounded, sick and shipwrecked individuals have to be cared for adequately. All efforts should be directed to quickly collecting the dead. Death must be confirmed by medical examination. Bodies have to be identified and protected from robbery. Medical equipment must not be destroyed intentionally, medical buildings and vehicles must not be damaged and prevented from being operated or attacked even if they do not contain patients.

The surrendering soldiers are entitled to respect for their integrity and lives, so they should not be injured or killed. The sick and wounded have to be cared for by the controlling force, the emblem of the red cross, red crystal and red crescent has to be respected.

Captured militaries are entitled to respect for their dignity, lives, convictions and personal rights. They must be protected, also they have the right to receive assistance.

No punishment can be held without trial, no one must be subjected to mental or physical torment, as well as degrading or cruel treatment.

Parties of a conflict and their armed forces members cannot use all means and methods of war. It is prohibited to apply methods or weapons of a tendency to cause excessive suffering or unnecessary losses. The parties of the conflict have to distinguish between the combatants and civilian population and respect civilian population and property.

Today all Geneva Conventions are accepted by every state in the world. The Conventions with their 159 articles are complicated and long. However, they protect helpless and vulnerable persons.

References:

  1. Abresch, William. A Human Rights Law of Internal Armed Conflict: The European Court of Human Rights in Chechnya. European Journal of International Law 16 (4), 2005.
  2. Bugnion, Francios. The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949: From the 1949 Diplomatic Conference to the Dawn of the New Millennium. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944) 76: 41–51, 2000.
  3. David P. Forsythe. The International Committee of the Red Cross: A Neutral Humanitarian Actor. Routledge, 2007.
  4. Keylor, William R. The Twentieth Century World and Beyond. Oxford University Press, New York, 2011.
  5. Khouri, Rami. International Law, Torture and Accountability. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, 2009.
  6. Kolb, Robert. Ius in bello. Basel: Helbing Lichtenhahn, 2009.
  7. Sixty years of the Geneva Conventions and the decades ahead. International Committee of the Red Cross, 2009.
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