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The 1929 Geneva Convention vs. the Hague Convention

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The Geneva Convention, according to various lexicons, refers to a series of international agreements that precipitated the creation of the International Red Cross and the development of the popularly known humanitarian law –which provided protection to wounded soldiers and civilians during the time of war.[1]

            There were actually four Geneva Conferences held. The first conference was conducted in the year 1864, wherein an agreement that stipulated provisions for the protection of the sick and wounded combatants during battles was created. This provision was later on amended and was extended to the sailors wounded in sea battles during the second conference that was held in the year 1868. Further amendments to the agreement were made in the years 1929 and 1949. In 1929, the said agreement included provisions for the prisoners of war. It stated that “the prisoners of war were not criminals and should be treated humanely and released at the end of hostilities”. The 1949 amendment, on the other hand, expanded the said agreement and included the protection of civilians from murder, torture, hostage-taking activities, extra-judicial sentencing, and executions.[2]

            The Hague Convention, on the other hand, refers to the formal treaties that were created during the two international peace conferences that were held at Hague, Netherlands.[3]

            The treaties that were developed in during the Hague Convention primarily focused on the promotion and maintenance of universal peace among nations. The first Hague conference paved way to the creation of The Hague Court or Hague Tribunal, which was primarily concerned with the settlement of controversial issues between nations.  Likewise, agreements that provides for the protection of war-participants from unnecessary sufferings brought about by warfare activities were also created. Declarations that pertain to the prohibition of the use of poison gas, expanding bullets, as well as the bombardment from the air via the means of balloons and the like were also instituted[4].

            Another set of conventions were created during the second Hague Conference. All of which were primarily concerned in clarifying and further refining the provisions stipulated in the conventions established during the first conference. The said agreements actually provided for the increased focus on naval warfare[5].

            Based on the facts cited above, it can be said that the agreements that were created during The Hague and Geneva conferences aimed to address concerns that emanated from warfare activities. However, it cannot be left unnoticed that the Geneva Convention actually provided for the protection of those people who have participated in warfare activities as well as to the ordinary citizens.

            On the other hand, the Hague Convention primarily focused on the promotion and maintenance of universal peace. Furthermore, it prohibited the use of poison gas, expanding bullets, as well as the bombardment from the air via the means of balloons and other warfare armaments of even nature.

            Thus it can be said that the Geneva and Hague conventions complements each other. The Hague Convention actually provided further refinement to the agreements instituted in the Geneva Conference.




Barcelo, John J. III and Clermont, Kevin M. A Global Law of Jurisdictions and Judgments:

 Lessons from The Hague. Kluwer Law International: Hague, Netherlands, 2002.

“The Geneva Convention”, http://www.wikipedia.com

Yale School of Law. Lecture Notes in International Law, 2001.


[1] www.wikipedia.com

[2] Lecture Notes in International Law, 2001.

[3] Barcelo, J. & Clermont, K., 2002.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

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