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BASICS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW

Introduction/Formation International Humanitarian Law = Defines the conduct and responsibilities of belligerent nations, neutral nations and individuals engaged in warfare in relation to each other and to protected persons (meaning civilians). Also known as Jus in bello, latin term for the laws of war sets limits on acts of war, hence providing a yardstick by which to measure the justifiability of actions during armed conflict. Aim is to prevent wanton cruelty and ruthlessness also to provide essential protection to those most directly affected by the conflict. On the other hand, Jus ad bellum refers to the justifiability of a state declaring war on another. However, main focus for this class is JIB. This field of law has developed over time through recognized principles/customary law/legal norms which parties of armed conflict were expected to observe even if there had been no written and binding agreements made. Hence, most effective way to remove uncertainty is to make multilateral treaties. There are currently two distinct, yet connected, treaties concerning this area of law: the law of The Hague and the law of Geneva. The law of Geneva In 1862, Henry Durrant (Switzerland) published Memoir of Solferino (re: solferino conflict in northern Italy) commenting on the poor conditions of wounded soldiers on the battlefield. His comments struck a cord with the elite and caused a sweeping realization that the existing situation needed to be changed. Therefore he proposed to changes: i. The establishment of a permanent aid organization to assist military medical services during times of war. a. leading to the Red Cross in 1863). ii. The adoption of a multilateral treaty guaranteeing better treatment for the wounded and recognizing medical neutrality. a. leading to the first Geneva Convention Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field on August 22, 1864. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 serves to protect persons who, as a result of war, are in the power of a state of which they are not nationals. The Convention rests on the principle that these protected persons must be respected and protected in all circumstances and must be treated humanely without any adverse discrimination. The protected persons are now listed in the conventions four protocols:

First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (1864) (updated: 1906,1929,1949) The treaty protects soldiers that are hors de combat (out of combat due to sickness and/or injury). It also protects the neutrality of medical and religious personnel (such as the Red Cross) and the protection of civilians affected by the armed conflict. For example: Article 9 = Red Cross/and other impartial humanitarian organization to provide protection and relief of wounded and sick soldiers, as well as medical and religious personnel. Article 12 = wounded and sick shall be treated and cared for by the party to the conflict in whose power they may be Article 15 = wounded and sick soldiers should be collected, cared for and protected. Article 16 = parties to the conflict should record the identity of the dead and wounded, and transmit this information to the opposing party. Article 24 = Red Cross when employed on the same duties as military medical personnel enjoy the same protection provided they are subject to the same military laws and regulations.

Second Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea (1906) (updated: 1929,1949) The second convention simply applies the first convention to combat at sea. For example:

Articles 12 and 18 = requires all parties to protect and care for the wounded, sick, and shipwrecked. Article 21 = allows appeals to be made to neutral vessels to help collect and care for the wounded, sick, and shipwrecked. The neutral vessels cannot be captured. Articles 36 and 37 = protect religious and medical personnel serving on a combat ship. Article 22 = states that hospital ships cannot be used for any military purpose, and owing to their humanitarian mission, they cannot be attacked or captured. Article 14 = clarifies that although a warship cannot capture a hospital ship's medical staff, it can hold the wounded, sick, and shipwrecked as prisoners of war.

Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (1929) (updated: 1949) This convention defines the humanitarian protection that is to be provided to prisoners of war.

For example: Equal treatment (especially food) as national troops Food equal in quantity and quality to national troops Independent standards to keep prisoners in good health

Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949) Defines the humanitarian protection for civilians in a war zone and outlaws the practice of total war (no distinction between combatants and civilians). Protection of the Individual: