The Biscuit Boys

Section 1351

The Geneva Conventions
Until around the time of the Crimean War the treatment of prisoners or other victims of war was left entirely to the belligerents. The treament afforded to a prisoner could range from instant death or torture to comfortable accommodation. If the prisoner was wealthy there was often the hope of realising a ransom, if not, then the prisoner could be turned into a slave and sold.

The Geneva Conventions are a series of treaties on the treatment of civilians, prisoners of war (POWs) and soldiers who are otherwise rendered hors de combat, or incapable of fighting. The first Convention was initiated by the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded (which became the International Committee for the Red Cross and Red Crescent). This convention produced a treaty designed to protect wounded and sick soldiers during wartime. The Swiss Government agreed to hold the Conventions in Geneva, and a few years later, a similar agreement to protect shipwrecked soldiers was produced. In 1949, after World War II, two new Conventions were added to the original two, and all four were ratified by a number of countries. The 1949 versions of the Conventions, along with two additional Protocols, are in force today.

Further conventions were drawn up in 1977 but have not been ratified by some countries.

There are many websites which explore the subject in more detail. Here are links to some of them:-

The Peace Pledge Union
The Red Cross
Cornell University Law School

Back to top »
2011 - © Goosecroft Publications