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Geneva Convention

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Ukraine accuses Russia of violating the Geneva Convention in the ongoing conflict.
  • Russia executed two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers who had signalled their intention to surrender.


About the Geneva Convention

  • The Geneva Conventions are a set of treaties and protocols established to guide countries during wartime.
  • Objective is to protect individuals not participating in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those unable to fight (wounded, sick, shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).


Four Geneva Conventions (1949)

  • First Convention: Protection of wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
  • Second Convention: Protection of wounded, sick, and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
  • Third Convention: Applies to prisoners of war (POWs), outlining humane treatment during captivity.
  • Fourth Convention: Offers protections to civilians, including those in occupied territories.


Three Additional Protocols

  • Protocol I (1977): Addresses victims in international conflicts, including wars of liberation and conflicts against racist regimes.
  • Protocol II (1977): Focuses on protecting victims in non-international armed conflicts, such as civil wars.
  • Protocol III (2005): Introduces the Red Crystal emblem, having the same international status as the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.


Signatories to the Geneva Convention

  • Ratified by 196 states, including all UN member states.
  • India: Signatory to the Geneva Conventions and ratified Protocol III (2005) but did not ratify Protocols I and II (1977).


Role of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC)

·       Humanitarian organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

·       Mandate: Given by state parties to the Geneva Convention to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts.


War Crimes

·       Refers to grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, including wilful killing, torture, inhuman treatment, and biological experiments.

·       Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) grants jurisdiction for war crimes.

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