At present, There are now four Geneva Conventions. These
were created in 1949. They cater for the armed forces, whether they are on land
and at sea, prisoners of war, and civilians. they set out what you can and
can’t do during times of conflict to defend people who are helpless and
defenceless. The symbols that are recognised as being from the Geneva Conventions
are the red cross which stands on a white background. With the aim of
protecting people in times of war, these flags cannot be used during war or
peaceful times, unless it is to recognise or defend medical staff,
establishments or certain materials that is defended by the Conventions. Every
one of them have now been acknowledged by practically every State on the
planet. UK approved the four Conventions in 1957.
2 new Protocols were created in 1977 during a diplomatic
conference. The First Protocol adds to the Conventions, contemplating current
methods for war and transport. It also aimed to provide further protection to civilians.
The Second Protocol gives a basic code of defence for soldiers and civilians amidst
The first Geneva Convention (“for the Amelioration of
the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces and Field”) and the second Geneva
Convention (“for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and
Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea”) both symbolise the fundamental
thought which prompted the establishing of the Red Cross: if an individual from
the military is injured or sick and no longer able to fight for their cause, he
is not part of the armed forces and are therefore in need of being sheltered.
The principle purposes of the first two Conventions are: people
who are sick, injured and shipwrecked must be sufficiently watched over.
Belligerents must treat their adversaries that are injured, sick or shipwrecked
as if they were in their own team. If
people to end up dying, the correct procedure is to retrieve all dead bodies as
soon as possible. This is because the quicker that this is done, the quicker
their cause of death can be confirmed, they are less at risk of being robbed
and their bodies can be returned to their families sooner. There must not be
any intentional damage caused to medical equipment, buildings or vehicles (ambulances).
This rule applies even if the vehicles or buildings do not have any patients in
them at the time as it could hinder the treatment of future patients.
The third Geneva Convention is entitled “Relative to
the Treatment of Prisoners of War”. It provides cover for people from the
armed forces that are in enemy territory. If this is the case, they are not
lawfully controlled by the enemy team but the State that the enemy team
The fourth Geneva
convention is entitled ”. The fundamental element of this convention is that
the fact that anyone who isn’t serving
for the armed forces is a civilian must be clearly known. Attacks of any
kind, particularly those without any motivation behind them are not allowed
under any circumstances. Military organizations
must prevent attacks on their weapons or territories, in any way they can.
This is because it would in turn lower
the amount of civilians who are injured or killed by the enemy organization.
Civilians must not be used as ‘shields’
in any way i.e. to prevent a military organization from being attacked. Civilians from the opposing organization
cannot be starved in order to hinder their existence in any way or to damage