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GENEVA CONVENTION, 1864 1 - A. Pearce Higgins, The Hague Peace Conferences and Other International Conferences concerning the Laws and Usages of War 
The Hague Peace Conferences and Other International Conferences concerning the Laws and Usages of War. Texts of Conventions with Commentaries, by A. Pearce Higgins, LL.D. (Cambridge University Press, 1909).
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GENEVA CONVENTION, 18641
Convention pour l’amélioration du sort des militaires blessés dans les armées en campagne.
La Confédération suisse, S.A.R. le Grand-Duc de Bade, S.M. le Roi des Belges, S.M. le Roi de Danemark, S.M. la Reine d’Espagne, S.M. l’Empereur des Français, S.A.R. le Grand-Duc de Hesse, S.M. le Roi d’Italie, S.M. le Roi des Pays-Bas, S.M. le Roi de Portugal et des Algarves, S.M. le Roi de Prusse, S.M. le Roi de Wurtemberg—également animés du désir d’adoucir, autant qu’il dépend d’eux, les maux inséparables de la guerre, de supprimer les rigueurs inutiles, et d’améliorer le sort des militaires blessés sur les champs de bataille, ont résolu de conclure une Convention à cet effet et ont nommé pour leurs Plénipotentiaires, savoir:
(Suivent les noms des Plénipotentiaires.)
Lesquels, après avoir échangé leurs pouvoirs, trouvés en bonne et due forme, sont convenus des articles suivants:
1. Les ambulances et les hôpitaux militaires seront reconnus neutres, et, comme tels, protégés et respectés par les belligérants, aussi longtemps qu’il s’y trouvera des malades ou des blessés.
La neutralité cesserait si ces ambulances ou ces hôpitaux étaient gardés par une force militaire.
2. Le personnel des hôpitaux et des ambulances, comprenant l’intendance, les services de santé, d’administration, de transport des blessés, ainsi que les aumôniers, participera au bénéfice de la neutralité lorsqu’il fonctionnera, et tant qu’il restera des blessés à relever ou à secourir.
3. Les personnes désignées dans l’article précédent pourront, même après l’occupation par l’ennemi, continuer à remplir leurs fonctions dans l’hôpital ou l’ambulance qu’elles desservent, ou se retirer pour rejoindre le corps auquel elles appartiennent.
Dans ces circonstances, lorsque ces personnes cesseront leurs fonctions, elles seront remises aux avant-postes ennemis par les soins de l’armée occupante.
4. Le matériel des hôpitaux militaires demeurant soumis aux lois de la guerre, les personnes attachées à ces hôpitaux ne pourront, en se retirant, emporter que les objets qui sont leur propriété particulière.
Dans les mêmes circonstances, au contraire, l’ambulance conservera son matériel.
5. Les habitants du pays qui porteront secours aux blessés seront respectés et demeureront libres. Les généraux des puissances belligérantes auront pour mission de prévenir les habitants de l’appel fait à leur humanité, et de la neutralité qui en sera la conséquence.
Tout blessé recueilli et soigné dans une maison y servira de sauvegarde. L’habitant qui aura recueilli chez lui des blessés sera dispensé du logement des troupes, ainsi que d’une partie des contributions de guerre qui seraient imposées.
6. Les militaires blessés ou malades seront recueillis et soignés, à quelque nation qu’ils appartiendront.
Les commandants en chef auront la faculté de remettre immédiatement aux avant-postes ennemis, les militaires blessés pendant le combat, lorsque les circonstances le permettront, et du consentement des deux partis.
Seront renvoyés dans leurs pays ceux qui, après guérison, seront reconnus incapables de servir.
Les autres pourront être également renvoyés, à la condition de ne pas reprendre les armes pendant la durée de la guerre.
Les évacuations, avec le personnel qui les dirige, seront couvertes par une neutralité absolue.
7. Un drapeau distinctif et uniforme sera adopté pour les hôpitaux, les ambulances, et les évacuations. Il devra être, en toute circonstance, accompagné du drapeau national.
Un brassard sera également admis pour le personnel neutralisé, mais la délivrance en sera laissée à l’autorité militaire.
Le drapeau et le brassard porteront croix rouge sur fond blanc.
8. Les détails d’exécution de la présente Convention seront réglés par les commandants-en-chef des armées belligérantes, d’après les instructions de leurs Gouvernements respectifs, et conformément aux principes généraux énoncés dans cette Convention.
9. Les Hautes Puissances Contractantes sont convenues de communiquer la présente Convention aux Gouvernements qui n’ont pu envoyer les Plénipotentiaires à la Conférence internationale de Genève, en les invitant à y accéder; le Protocole est à cet effet laissé ouvert.
10. La présente Convention sera ratifiée, et les ratifications en seront échangées à Berne, dans l’espace de quatre mois, ou plus tôt si faire se peut.
En foi de quoi les Plénipotentiaires respectifs l’ont signée, et y ont apposé le cachet de leurs armes.
Fait à Genève, le vingt-deuxième jour du mois d’août, de l’an mil huit cent soixante-quatre.
(Suivent les signatures des Plénipotentiaires.)
Convention for the amelioration of the condition of soldiers wounded in armies in the field.
The Swiss Confederation, His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Baden, His Majesty the King of the Belgians, His Majesty the King of Denmark, Her Majesty the Queen of Spain, His Majesty the Emperor of the French, His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Hesse, His Majesty the King of Italy, His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, His Majesty the King of Portugal and the Algarves, His Majesty the King of Prussia, His Majesty the King of Wurtemberg, being equally animated by the desire to mitigate, as far as depends upon them, the evils inseparable from war, to suppress useless severities, and to ameliorate the condition of soldiers wounded on the field of battle, have resolved to conclude a Convention for that purpose, and have named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:
(Here follow the names of the Plenipotentiaries.)
Who, after having exchanged their powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:
1. Ambulances and military hospitals shall be recognised as neutral, and, as such, shall be protected and respected by the belligerents, so long as any sick or wounded may be therein.
Such neutrality shall cease if these ambulances or hospitals shall be held by a military force.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Arts. 6-8.)
2. Persons employed in hospitals and ambulances, including the staff for superintendence, medical service, administration, transport of wounded, as well as chaplains, shall participate in the benefit of neutrality whilst so employed, and so long as there remain any wounded to bring in or to succour.
(Cp. Add. Art. 1868, Art. 1. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 7. G. C. 1906, Art. 9. 10 H. C. 1907, Art. 10.)
3. The persons designated in the preceding article may, even after occupation by the enemy, continue to fulfil their duties in the hospital or ambulance which they serve, or may withdraw in order to rejoin the corps to which they belong.
Under such circumstances, when those persons shall cease from their functions, they shall be delivered, by the occupying army, to the outposts of the enemy.
(Cp. Add. Art. 1868, Art. 1. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 7. G. C. 1906, Art. 12. 10 H. C. 1907, Art. 10.)
4. As the equipment of military hospitals remains subject to the laws of war, persons attached to such hospitals cannot, in withdrawing, carry away any articles but such as are their private property.
Under the same circumstances an ambulance shall, on the contrary, retain its equipment.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Arts. 12 and 14.)
5. Inhabitants of the country who may bring help to the wounded shall be respected, and shall remain free. The generals of the belligerent powers shall make it their care to inform the inhabitants of the appeal addressed to their humanity, and of the neutrality which will be the consequence of it.
Any wounded man entertained and taken care of in a house shall be considered as a protection thereto. Any inhabitant who shall have received wounded men into his house shall be exempted from the quartering of troops, as well as from a part of the contributions of war which may be imposed.
(Cp. Add. Art. 1868, Art. 4. G. C. 1906, Art. 5.)
6. Wounded or sick soldiers shall be brought in and taken care of, to whatever nation they may belong.
Commanders-in-chief shall have the power to deliver immediately to the outposts of the enemy soldiers who have been wounded in an engagement, when circumstances permit this to be done, and with the consent of both parties.
Those who are recognised, after their wounds are healed, as incapable of serving, shall be sent back to their country.
The others may also be sent back, on condition of not bearing arms again during the continuance of the war.
(Cp. Add. Art. 1868, Art. 5. G. C. 1906, Art. 2.)
Evacuations [i.e. convoys of sick and wounded], together with the persons under whose directions they take place, shall be protected by an absolute neutrality.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Art. 17.)
7. A distinctive and uniform flag shall be adopted for hospitals, ambulances, and evacuations. It must on every occasion be accompanied by the national flag.
An arm-badge (brassard) shall also be allowed for individuals neutralised, but the delivery thereof shall be left to military authority.
The flag and arm-badge shall bear a red cross on a white ground.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Arts. 18, 19, 20.)
8. The details of execution of the present Convention shall be regulated by the Commanders-in-chief of the belligerent armies, according to the instructions of their respective Governments, and in conformity with the general principles laid down in this Convention.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Art. 25.)
9. The High Contracting Powers have agreed to communicate the present Convention to the Governments which have been unable to send Plenipotentiaries to the International Conference of Geneva, with an invitation to accede thereto; the Protocol is for that purpose left open.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Art. 32 (2, 3).)
10. The present Convention shall be ratified, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Berne, in four months, or sooner if possible.
In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same, and affixed the seal of their arms.
Done at Geneva, the twenty-second day of August, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four.
(Here follow the signatures.)
A Conference of representatives of Switzerland, Baden, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Hesse, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Prussia, and Würtemberg met at Geneva in August, 1864. This Conference was to a large extent due to the philanthropic efforts of MM. Gustav Moynier and Henri Dunant, both citizens of Switzerland. Having been eye-witnesses of the sufferings of the wounded at Magenta and Solferino, and the disease incident to the campaign, and the want of the needful medical and surgical appliances, M. Dunant in 1862 published a book entitled Le Souvenir de Solferino, which gave a terribly graphic description of the misery and suffering of the sick and wounded in war1 . A Swiss Society called La Société Genevoise d’Utilité Publique took up the ideas of M. Dunant with enthusiasm, and the Swiss Government was induced to summon a Conference to consider the subject of the treatment of the sick and wounded in war. The foregoing Convention was the result.
The following is a list of the states who have signed or adhered to this Convention (under the provisions of Article 9) with the dates of their signature or adherence:—The Argentine Republic (1879), Austria-Hungary (1866), Belgium (1864), Brazil (1906), Bolivia (1879), Bulgaria (1884), Chili (1879), China (1904), Colombia (1906), Congo (1888), Cuba (1907), Denmark (1864), Dominica (1907), Ecuador (1907), France (1864), Germany (1906), Great Britain (1865), Greece (1865), Guatemala (1903), Holland (1864), Honduras (1898), Hayti (1907), Italy (1864), Japan and Corea (1886 and 1903), Luxemburg (1888), Mexico (1905), Montenegro (1875), Nicaragua (1898), Norway (1864), Peru (1880), Persia (1874), Portugal (1866), Paraguay (1907), Panama (1907), Roumania (1874), Russia (1867), Salvador (1874), Servia (1876), Siam (1895), Spain (1864), Sweden (1864), Switzerland (1864), Turkey (1865), the United States of America (1882), Uruguay (1900), Venezuela (1894). In many cases the adherence of Powers was due to their ratification of the Convention with respect to the laws and customs of war on land signed at the Hague Conference of 1899, which by Article 21 incorporated the Geneva Convention of 1864.
This Convention was the first step towards the codification of rules of war applicable to land warfare. It represented the best existing practice on the subject, and the immunities which states were in the habit of according to those engaged in tending the sick and wounded. The lapse of nearly 35 years had rendered the terminology out of harmony with the existing arrangements of Army Medical Corps, and the use of the terms neutre and neutralité to describe the inviolability of persons and things covered by it was inexact. The Convention has no application to voluntary Aid Societies either of the belligerents or neutral Powers unless forming part of the belligerent armies. There was a growing desire for its revision1 , and among the “Wishes” (Vœux) expressed by the Hague Conference of 1899 was one to the effect that the Swiss Federal Government would take steps to call a Conference for the revision of the Convention. This Conference, which was attended by representatives of 37 Powers, met at Geneva in June, 1906, and adopted the Convention set forth on pages 18-35 which as between the contracting Powers now takes the place of that of 1864. As several important states, parties to the Convention of 1864, have not up to the present ratified the Convention of 1906, the former Convention will still regulate their relations in case of war between such of the parties who signed it but who have not ratified the latter Convention (Art. 31 of Geneva Convention, 1906).
The Geneva Conference of 1868. In 1868 the Swiss Government, at the request of a Conference of Red Cross Societies held at Paris during the Exhibition of 1867, summoned another Conference of the Powers to consider the subject of the treatment of sick and wounded in war. The following 14 Powers were represented at a Conference which met at Geneva in October, 1868: Austria-Hungary, Baden, Bavaria, Belgium, Denmark, France, the North German Confederation, Great Britain, Italy, Holland, Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Würtemberg. They agreed to a Convention of 15 Articles, the first five being explanations and additions to the Convention of 1864. The subsequent Articles are an application to naval warfare of the same principles. Owing to various causes the Convention was never ratified, but with some modifications its provisions have been acted on by belligerents since 18681 . The principles of Articles 6-15 were embodied in the Convention adopted by the Hague Convention (1899) for the adaptation to maritime warfare of the principles of the Geneva Convention of 18642 . The following is a translation of the Projet d’articles additionels à la Convention du 22 Août, 18643 .
Art. 1. The personnel designated in Article 2 of the Convention shall continue after occupation by the enemy to give their services, according to the measure of the necessities, to the sick and the wounded of the ambulance or hospital which they serve.
When they shall make a request to withdraw, the commander of the occupying forces shall fix the moment of their departure, which he cannot under any circumstances defer, except for a short period in case of military necessities.
(Cp. G. C. 1864, Arts. 2, 3. G. C. 1906, Art. 12.)
Art. 2. Provision ought to be made by the belligerent powers to assure to the persons neutralized, who have fallen into the hands of the enemy’s army, the complete enjoyment of their pay (la jouissance intégrale de son traitement).
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Art. 13.)
Art. 3. In the conditions provided for by Articles 1 and 4 of the Convention, the term ambulance applies to field hospitals and other temporary establishments, which follow the troops on the field of battle to receive there the sick and wounded.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Art. 6.)
Art. 4. In accordance with the spirit of Article 5 of the Convention, and under the reserves mentioned in the Protocol of 1864, it is explained that, as regards the division of the charges relative to the billeting of troops and the contributions of war, account will only be taken of the charitable spirit shown by the inhabitants in so far as equitable considerations may be applicable.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Art. 5.)
Art. 5. In extension of Article 6 of the Convention, it is stipulated that with the reservation of officers, the detention of whom may be important to the success of the war, and within the limits fixed by the second paragraph of this Article, the wounded who have fallen into the hands of the enemy, although they may not have been recognized as incapable of service, ought to be sent back to their country after their wounds are healed, or sooner if it be possible, on condition always of not resuming arms during the continuance of the war.
(Cp. G. C. 1906, Art. 2.)
Articles concerning Naval Warfare (la marine).
Art. 6. Boats which, at their risk and peril, during and after the engagement, pick up, or which, having picked up the shipwrecked or the wounded, convey them on board a neutral or hospital ship, shall enjoy, until the completion of their mission, such a degree of neutrality as the circumstances of the engagement and the situation of the vessels in conflict will allow to be applied to them.
The appreciation of these circumstances is left to the humanity of all the combatants.
The shipwrecked and wounded so picked up and saved cannot serve during the continuance of the war.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 6. 10 H. C. 1907, Art. 9.)
Art. 7. Every person employed in the religious, medical or hospital service of any captured vessel is declared inviolable (neutre). On leaving the vessel, he carries away the articles and instruments of surgery which are his own private property.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 7. 10 H. C. 1907, Arts. 9, 10.)
Art. 8. The persons designated in the preceding Article ought to continue to fulfil their functions on board the captured vessel, to assist in the evacuations of the wounded made by the victorious side, after which they should be free to return to their own country, in accordance with the second paragraph of the first additional Article above mentioned.
The stipulations of the second additional Article above mentioned are applicable to the pay of these persons.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 7. 10 H. C. 1907, Art. 10.)
Art. 9. Military hospital ships remain subject to the laws of war, as regards their equipment; they become the property of the captor, but the latter cannot divert them from their special purpose during the continuance of the war.
Art. 10. Every merchant ship, to whatever nation it may belong, laden exclusively with wounded or sick, whose removal it is effecting, has the protection of neutrality; but the mere fact of a visit, notified in her log-book, by an enemy cruiser, renders the wounded and sick incapable of serving during the continuance of the war.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Arts. 6, 9.)
The cruiser shall even have the right of putting on board a commissioner to accompany the convoy to verify in this manner the good faith of the operation.
If the merchant ship carries a cargo in addition, the neutral character shall still protect it, provided that the cargo be not of a nature to be confiscated by the belligerent.
Belligerents retain the right of prohibiting neutralised vessels from having any communication and taking any direction which they consider prejudicial to the secrecy of their operations. In urgent cases special conventions may be made between the commanders-in-chief to neutralise temporarily in a special manner ships intended for the transport of the wounded or sick.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 4.)
Art. 11. Wounded or sick sailors and soldiers on board ship, to whatever nation they may belong, shall be protected and taken care of by the captors. Their restoration to their country is made subject to the provisions of the sixth Article of the Convention and the fifth additional Article.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 8. 10 H. C. 1907, Art. 11.)
Art. 12. The distinctive flag to be added to the national flag to denote a ship or boat of any kind which claims the benefit of neutrality in virtue of the principles of this Convention is the white flag with a red cross. Belligerents exercise in this respect all such verification as they judge necessary.
Military hospital ships shall be distinguished by white external painting, with a green broad band.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Art. 5. 10 H. C. 1907, Art. 5.)
Art. 13. Hospital ships, equipped at the expense of associations for the aid of the wounded recognized by the Governments which have signed this Convention, being provided with a commission issued by the sovereign, who shall have expressly authorized their fitting out, and with a document from a competent maritime authority, certifying that they have been submitted to its control during their fitting out and at their final departure, and that they were then appropriated exclusively to the object of their mission, shall be considered as neutral as well as all the persons employed in them.
They shall be respected and protected by the belligerents.
They shall make themselves known by hoisting with their national flag the white flag with a red cross. The distinctive mark of the persons employed on them during the exercise of their functions shall be an arm-badge of the same colours; their external painting shall be white with a red broad band.
These ships shall bring aid and assistance to the wounded and shipwrecked belligerents, without distinction of nationality.
They ought not in any way to embarrass the movements of the combatants.
During and after an engagement they shall act at their own risk and peril.
The belligerents shall have over them the right of control and visit; they may refuse their assistance, may enjoin them to remove to a distance and may detain them, if the gravity of the circumstances require it.
The wounded and shipwrecked picked up by these vessels cannot be claimed by any of the combatants, but they are under an obligation not to serve again during the continuance of the war.
(Cp. 3 H. C. 1899, Arts. 3, 4. 10 H. C. 1907, Arts. 3, 4.)
Art. 14. In naval wars, any strong presumption, that one of the belligerents profits from the benefit of neutrality in any interest other than that of the wounded and sick, allows the other belligerent, until proof of the contrary, to suspend the Convention as regards him.
If this presumption becomes a certainty, the Convention may be denounced as regards him during the continuance of the war.
Art. 15. The present Act shall be drawn up in a single original Act, which shall be deposited in the archives of the Swiss Confederation.
An authentic copy of this Act shall be delivered, with an invitation to accede thereto, to each of the powers who have signed the Convention of 22 August, 1864, as likewise to those who have successively acceded to it.
In faith whereof the undersigned Commissioners have drawn up the proposed additional articles and affixed the seals of their arms.
Done at Geneva, the 20th day of October, 1868.
[1 ]British State Papers, 1865, Vol. lvii. p. 471; G. F. de Martens, Nouveau Recueil de Traités, Vol. xviii. p. 607; Vol. xx. pp. 375-399; Holtzendorff, Handbuch des Völkerrechts, Vol. iv. §§ 74-77; Bluntschli, Das Völkerrecht, pp. 329 et seq. § 586; Despagnet, pp. 585-8; Mérignhac, Les lois et coutumes de la guerre sur terre, pp. 114-139; Hall, pp. 401-6; Lawrence, pp. 338, 339, 491-3; T. E. Holland, Studies in International Law, pp. 61-65; Idem, The Laws and Customs of War on Land, pp. 18-27 (containing commentary on this Convention); Halleck, Vol. ii. p. 36; Wheaton, p. 474; Maine, p. 156; T. A. Walker, Science of International Law, pp. 357-362; H. Taylor, § 528; J. Westlake, War, pp. 60-72; L. Oppenheim, Vol. ii. pp. 123-8; J. B. Moore, Digest of International Law, Vol. ii. p. 474; Vol. vii. p. 235.
[1 ]In 1901, M. Dunant was awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts to mitigate the severity of war. A new edition of his work was published at Amsterdam in 1902.
[1 ]See Lueder, La Convention de Genève; Mérignhac, La Conférence de la Paix, § 76; also list of works cited by the same author on p. 127 of Les Lois et Coutumes de Guerre; see also references given in note 1, p. 8 ante, and note 1, p. 18 post. A valuable sketch of the legislation in various countries for enforcing the Geneva Convention will be found in two Articles of Prof. Gustave de Roszkowski in La Revue de Droit International (2nd series), Vol. vi.  pp. 76, 188. See British Parliamentary Papers relating to the Geneva Convention of 1906 [1908, Cd. 3933] for a translation of the various enactments and regulations (pp. 64-73).
[1 ]It served as a modus vivendi during the Franco-German War of 1870 (L. Renault, Les deux Conférences de la Paix, p. 173).
[2 ]M. G. de Lapradelle is of opinion that the Convention of 1899 is inferior to that of 1868 (La Conférence de la Paix).
[3 ]De Martens, Nouveau Recueil Général de Traités, Vol. xviii. pp. 612-9; Vol. xx. pp. 400-435; Sir T. Twiss, International Law, Vol. ii. p. 534.