Geneva Conventions Essay

Topics: Laws of war, Geneva Conventions, International law Pages: 3 (770 words) Published: October 28, 2005
The laws of war

The IHL and Geneva conventions are mainly known as the organizations that keep morals and sense in armed conflicts otherwise known as wars. These organizations place laws during war, if these laws hadn't been put in place during 1949 I don't think many of us would be here today.

The main international agreements are the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Nearly every country in the world is part of these treaties, they protect four different categories of war victims – the wounded and sick; people who are shipwrecked; prisoners of war, and civilians, particularly those in enemy territory.

There are also two other Protocols of 1977 which develop the Geneva Conventions, especially by increasing the protection of civilians against the effects of dangers from the war. Protocol I is concerned with international wars, while Protocol II addresses high intensity non -international wars, mostly civil wars, such as in El Salvador from the late 1970s to early ‘80s, and at least some of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

It has become internationally accepted that there must be constraints during war. IHL prohibits those actions which go beyond what is necessary to achieve military objectives, or that make it more difficult to keep peace after the conflict ends. It also reinforces military discipline. Also, the basic rules of IHL show a universal humanitarian instinct, and overlap with human rights law. During war, such rules include care for the wounded, regardless of whether they are friends or enemies; fare treatment of prisoners and civilians, and limiting attacks to military targets.

Customs regulating armed conflicts can be found since early times, in many cultures. They are part of the first rules of international law. Many ancient texts, such as the Bible, the Koran and the Mahabharata, contain rules advocating respect for the adversary. Humanitarian principles can also be identified in African customary...
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