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Geneva Conventions

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.

In the field, soldiers of a signatory who carry prohibited equipment or perform prohibited actions are subject to summary field execution without a trial. This is usually carried out on prisoners of war who are captured with prohibited equipment. It may be ordered by the senior officer of a group that observed an atrocity and can recognize participating individuals.

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:

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 conventions were revised and 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.

See also: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, laws of war, war crime, collateral damage, atrocity, human rights.

References and external links



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