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article imageGeneva Conventions Signed 60 Years Ago

By Christopher Szabo     Aug 12, 2009 in World
Sixty years ago today, 64 nations signed the fourth Geneva Convention, which protects the rights of those caught up in armed conflict. The four Geneva Conventions have become the basis of modern laws of warfare.
Al Jazeera says the four Conventions provide protection for wounded members of armed forces in the field and at sea, prisoners of war and civilians. Supporters of the Conventions say they have saved millions of lives and greatly reduced the suffering caused by war.
Speaking in Geneva at a conference on the 60th anniversary of the Fourth Convention, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Jakob Kellenberger, said:
Sixty years ago today, the Geneva Conventions were adopted. This defining event played a central role in expanding the protection provided to victims of armed conflicts. It also expanded the ICRC's humanitarian mandate, and facilitated our access as well as our dialogue with States.
Kellenberger added:
It would be natural, on this date, to reflect with a certain pride and satisfaction on the achievements and successes over the decades, and to allow at least a modest degree of self-congratulation. It cannot be denied that much more attention is paid to situations where the rules are violated than to the many situations where their respect is ensured.
More countries have joined the Geneva Conventions than have joined the U.N. Kellenberger called for improved compliance with the Geneva Conventions.
Public pressure and international scrutiny of conduct in an armed conflict are also significant factors in improving compliance with IHL.
IHL stands for International Humanitarian Law, which includes all laws and customs relating to war, including the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, various U.N. instruments, such as the U.N. Charter, and laws of individual countries governing armed conflict.
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