Chapter I. General Provisions
Art 1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure
respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.
Art 2. In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in
peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war
or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the
High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one
The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total
occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said
occupation meets with no armed resistance.
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present
Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in
their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in
relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions
Art 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character
occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each
Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including
members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed
hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall
in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse
distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or
wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following
acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place
whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel
treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon
personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without
previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court,
affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as
indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded, sick and shipwrecked shall be collected and cared
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee
of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force,
by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal
status of the Parties to the conflict.
Art 4. In case of hostilities between land and naval forces of Parties to
the conflict, the provisions of the present Convention shall apply only to
forces on board ship.
Forces put ashore shall immediately become subject to the provisions of
the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded
and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949.
Art 5. Neutral Powers shall apply by analogy the provisions of the
present Convention to the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, and to members of
the medical personnel and to chaplains of the armed forces of the Parties to
the conflict received or interned in their territory, as well as to dead
Art 6. In addition to the agreements expressly provided for in Articles
10, 18, 31, 38, 39, 40, 43 and 53, the High Contracting Parties may conclude
other special agreements for all matters concerning which they may deem it
suitable to make separate provision. No special agreement shall adversely
affect the situation of wounded, sick and shipwrecked persons, of members of
the medical personnel or of chaplains, as defined by the present Convention,
nor restrict the rights which it confers upon them.
Wounded, sick and shipwrecked persons, as well as medical personnel and
chaplains, shall continue to have the benefit of such agreements as long as
the Convention is applicable to them, except where express provisions to the
contrary are contained in the aforesaid or in subsequent agreements, or
where more favourable measures have been taken with regard to them by one or
other of the Parties to the conflict.
Art 7. Wounded, sick and shipwrecked persons, as well as members of the
medical personnel and chaplains, may in no circumstances renounce in part or
in entirety the rights secured to them by the present Convention, and by the
special agreements referred to in the foregoing Article, if such there be.
Art 8. The present Convention shall be applied with the cooperation and
under the scrutiny of the Protecting Powers whose duty it is to safeguard
the interests of the Parties to the conflict. For this purpose, the
Protecting Powers may appoint, apart from their diplomatic or consular
staff, delegates from amongst their own nationals or the nationals of other
neutral Powers. The said delegates shall be subject to the approval of the
Power with which they are to carry out their duties.
The Parties to the conflict shall facilitate to the greatest extent
possible the task of the representatives or delegates of the Protecting
The representatives or delegates of the Protecting Powers shall not in
any case exceed their mission under the present Convention. They shall, in
particular, take account of the imperative necessities of security of the
State wherein they carry out their duties. Their activities shall only be
restricted as an exceptional and temporary measure when this is rendered
necessary by imperative military necessities.
Art 9. The provisions of the present Convention constitute no obstacle to
the humanitarian activities which the International Committee of the Red
Cross or any other impartial humanitarian organization may, subject to the
consent of the Parties to the conflict concerned, undertake for the
protection of wounded, sick and shipwrecked persons, medical personnel and
chaplains, and for their relief.
Art 10. The High Contracting Parties may at any time agree to entrust to
an organization which offers all guarantees of impartiality and efficacy the
duties incumbent on the Protecting Powers by virtue of the present
When wounded, sick and shipwrecked, or medical personnel and chaplains do
not benefit or cease to benefit, no matter for what reason, by the
activities of a Protecting Power or of an organization provided for in the
first paragraph above, the Detaining Power shall request a neutral State, or
such an organization, to undertake the functions performed under the present
Convention by a Protecting Power designated by the Parties to a conflict.
If protection cannot be arranged accordingly, the Detaining Power shall
request or shall accept, subject to the provisions of this Article, the
offer of the services of a humanitarian organization, such as the
International Committee of the Red Cross, to assume the humanitarian
functions performed by Protecting Powers under the present Convention.
Any neutral Power, or any organization invited by the Power concerned or
offering itself for these purposes, shall be required to act with a sense of
responsibility towards the Party to the conflict on which persons protected
by the present Convention depend, and shall be required to furnish
sufficient assurances that it is in a position to undertake the appropriate
functions and to discharge them impartially.
No derogation from the preceding provisions shall be made by special
agreements between Powers one of which is restricted, even temporarily, in
its freedom to negotiate with the other Power or its allies by reason of
military events, more particularly where the whole, or a substantial part,
of the territory of the said Power is occupied.
Whenever, in the present Convention, mention is made of a Protecting
Power, such mention also applies to substitute organizations in the sense of
the present Article.
Art 11. In cases where they deem it advisable in the interest of
protected persons, particularly in cases of disagreement between the Parties
to the conflict as to the application or interpretation of the provisions of
the present Convention, the Protecting Powers shall lend their good offices
with a view to settling the disagreement.
For this purpose, each of the Protecting Powers may, either at the
invitation of one Party or on its own initiative, propose to the Parties to
the conflict a meeting of their representatives, in particular of the
authorities responsible for the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, medical
personnel and chaplains, possibly on neutral territory suitably chosen. The
Parties to the conflict shall be bound to give effect to the proposals made
to them for this purpose. The Protecting Powers may, if necessary, propose
for approval by the Parties to the conflict, a person belonging to a neutral
Power or delegated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, who
shall be invited to take part in such a meeting.
Chapter II. Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked
Art 12. Members of the armed forces and other persons mentioned in the
following Article, who are at sea and who are wounded, sick or shipwrecked,
shall be respected and protected in all circumstances, it being understood
that the term "shipwreck" means shipwreck from any cause and includes forced
landings at sea by or from aircraft.
Such persons shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Parties to
the conflict in whose power they may be, without any adverse distinction
founded on sex, race, nationality, religion, political opinions, or any
other similar criteria. Any attempts upon their lives, or violence to their
persons, shall be strictly prohibited; in particular, they shall not be
murdered or exterminated, subjected to torture or to biological experiments;
they shall not wilfully be left without medical assistance and care, nor
shall conditions exposing them to contagion or infection be created.
Only urgent medical reasons will authorize priority in the order of
treatment to be administered.
Women shall be treated with all consideration due to their sex.
Art 13. The present Convention shall apply to the wounded, sick and
at sea belonging to the following categories:
(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as
well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such
(2) Members of other militias and members of other
volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements,
belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their
own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such
militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance
movements, fulfil the following conditions:
(a) that of being
commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
(d) that of conducting
their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a Government
or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof,
such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents,
supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible
for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received
authorization from the armed forces which they accompany.
of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant
marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict,
who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other
provisions of international law.
(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied
territory who, on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously take up arms
to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form
themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and
respect the laws and customs of war.
Art 14. All warships of a belligerent Party shall have the right to
demand that the wounded, sick or shipwrecked on board military hospital
ships, and hospital ships belonging to relief societies or to private
individuals, as well as merchant vessels, yachts and other craft shall be
surrendered, whatever their nationality, provided that the wounded and sick
are in a fit state to be moved and that the warship can provide adequate
facilities for necessary medical treatment.
Art 15. If wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons are taken on board a
neutral warship or a neutral military aircraft, it shall be ensured, where
so required by international law, that they can take no further part in
operations of war.
Art 16. Subject to the provisions of Article 12, the wounded, sick and
shipwrecked of a belligerent who fall into enemy hands shall be prisoners of
war, and the provisions of international law concerning prisoners of war
shall apply to them. The captor may decide, according to circumstances,
whether it is expedient to hold them, or to convey them to a port in the
captor's own country, to a neutral port or even to a port in enemy
territory. In the last case, prisoners of war thus returned to their home
country may not serve for the duration of the war.
Art 17. Wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons who are landed in neutral
ports with the consent of the local authorities, shall, failing arrangements
to the contrary between the neutral and the belligerent Powers, be so
guarded by the neutral Power, where so required by international law, that
the said persons cannot again take part in operations of war.
The costs of hospital accommodation and internment shall be borne by the
Power on whom the wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons depend.
Art 18. After each engagement, Parties to the conflict shall, without
delay, take all possible measures to search for and collect the shipwrecked,
wounded and sick, to protect them against pillage and ill-treatment, to
ensure their adequate care, and to search for the dead and prevent their
Whenever circumstances permit, the Parties to the conflict shall conclude
local arrangements for the removal of the wounded and sick by sea from a
besieged or encircled area and for the passage of medical and religious
personnel and equipment on their way to that area.
Art 19. The Parties to the conflict shall record as soon as possible, in
respect of each shipwrecked, wounded, sick or dead person of the adverse
Party falling into their hands, any particulars which may assist in his
identification. These records should if possible include:
(a) designation of the Power on which he depends;
regimental, personal or serial number;
(d) first name
(e) date of birth;
(f) any other particulars shown on
his identity card or disc;
(g) date and place of capture or death;
(h) particulars concerning wounds or illness, or cause of death.
As soon as possible the above-mentioned information shall be
forwarded to the information bureau described in Article 122 of the Geneva
Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949,
which shall transmit this information to the Power on which these persons
depend through the intermediary of the Protecting Power and of the Central
Prisoners of War Agency.
Parties to the conflict shall prepare and forward to each other through
the same bureau, certificates of death or duly authenticated lists of the
dead. They shall likewise collect and forward through the same bureau one
half of the double identity disc, or the identity disc itself if it is a
single disc, last wills or other documents of importance to the next of kin,
money and in general all articles of an intrinsic or sentimental value,
which are found on the dead. These articles, together with unidentified
articles, shall be sent in sealed packets, accompanied by statements giving
all particulars necessary for the identification of the deceased owners, as
well as by a complete list of the contents of the parcel.
Art 20. Parties to the conflict shall ensure that burial at sea of the
dead, carried out individually as far as circumstances permit, is preceded
by a careful examination, if possible by a medical examination, of the
bodies, with a view to confirming death, establishing identity and enabling
a report to be made. Where a double identity disc is used, one half of the
disc should remain on the body.
If dead persons are landed, the provisions of the Geneva Convention for
the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in
the Field of August 12, 1949 shall be applicable.
Art 21. The Parties to the conflict may appeal to the charity of
commanders of neutral merchant vessels, yachts or other craft, to take on
board and care for wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons, and to collect the
Vessels of any kind responding to this appeal, and those having of their
own accord collected wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons, shall enjoy
special protection and facilities to carry out such assistance.
They may, in no case, be captured on account of any such transport; but,
in the absence of any promise to the contrary, they shall remain liable to
capture for any violations of neutrality they may have committed.
Chapter III. Hospital Ships
Art 22. Military hospital ships, that is to say, ships built or equipped
by the Powers specially and solely with a view to assisting the wounded,
sick and shipwrecked, to treating them and to transporting them, may in no
circumstances be attacked or captured, but shall at all times be respected
and protected, on condition that their names and descriptions have been
notified to the Parties to the conflict ten days before those ships are
The characteristics which must appear in the notification shall include
registered gross tonnage, the length from stem to stern and the number of
masts and funnels.
Art 23. Establishments ashore entitled to the protection of the Geneva
Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in
Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949 shall be protected from
bombardment or attack from the sea.
Art 24. Hospital ships utilized by National Red Cross Societies, by
officially recognized relief societies or by private persons shall have the
same protection as military hospital ships and shall be exempt from capture,
if the Party to the conflict on which they depend has given them an official
commission and in so far as the provisions of Article 22 concerning
notification have been complied with.
These ships must be provided with certificates from the responsible
authorities, stating that the vessels have been under their control while
fitting out and on departure.
Art 25. Hospital ships utilized by National Red Cross Societies,
officially recognized relief societies, or private persons of neutral
countries shall have the same protection as military hospital ships and
shall be exempt from capture, on condition that they have placed themselves
under the control of one of the Parties to the conflict, with the previous
consent of their own governments and with the authorization of the Party to
the conflict concerned, in so far as the provisions of Article 22 concerning
notification have been complied with.
Art 26. The protection mentioned in Articles 22, 24 and 25 shall apply to
hospital ships of any tonnage and to their lifeboats, wherever they are
operating. Nevertheless, to ensure the maximum comfort and security, the
Parties to the conflict shall endeavour to utilize, for the transport of
wounded, sick and shipwrecked over long distances and on the high seas, only
hospital ships of over 2,000 tons gross.
Art 27. Under the same conditions as those provided for in Articles 22
and 24, small craft employed by the State or by the officially recognized
lifeboat institutions for coastal rescue operations, shall also be respected
and protected, so far as operational requirements permit.
The same shall apply so far as possible to fixed coastal installations
used exclusively by these craft for their humanitarian missions.
Art 28. Should fighting occur on board a warship, the sick-bays shall be
respected and spared as far as possible. Sick-bays and their equipment shall
remain subject to the laws of warfare, but may not be diverted from their
purpose so long as they are required for the wounded and sick. Nevertheless,
the commander into whose power they have fallen may, after ensuring the
proper care of the wounded and sick who are accommodated therein, apply them
to other purposes in case of urgent military necessity.
Art 29. Any hospital ship in a port which falls into the hands of the
enemy shall be authorized to leave the said port.
Art 30. The vessels described in Articles 22, 24, 25 and 27 shall afford
relief and assistance to the wounded, sick and shipwrecked without
distinction of nationality.
The High Contracting Parties undertake not to use these vessels for any
Such vessels shall in no wise hamper the movements of the combatants.
During and after an engagement, they will act at their own risk.
Art 31. The Parties to the conflict shall have the right to control and
search the vessels mentioned in Articles 22, 24, 25 and 27. They can refuse
assistance from these vessels, order them off, make them take a certain
course, control the use of their wireless and other means of communication,
and even detain them for a period not exceeding seven days from the time of
interception, if the gravity of the circumstances so requires.
They may put a commissioner temporarily on board whose sole task shall be
to see that orders given in virtue of the provisions of the preceding
paragraph are carried out.
As far as possible, the Parties to the conflict shall enter in the log of
the hospital ship in a language he can understand, the orders they have
given the captain of the vessel.
Parties to the conflict may, either unilaterally or by particular
agreements, put on board their ships neutral observers who shall verify the
strict observation of the provisions contained in the present Convention.
Art 32. Vessels described in Articles 22, 24, 25 and 27 are not classed
as warships as regards their stay in a neutral port.
Art 33. Merchant vessels which have been transformed into hospital ships
cannot be put to any other use throughout the duration of hostilities.
Art 34. The protection to which hospital ships and sick-bays are entitled
shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian
duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after
due warning has been given, naming in all appropriate cases a reasonable
time limit, and after such warning has remained unheeded.
In particular, hospital ships may not possess or use a secret code for
their wireless or other means of communication.
Art 35. The following conditions shall not be considered as depriving
ships or sick-bays of vessels of the protection due to them:
(1) The fact that the crews of ships or sick-bays are armed for
the maintenance of order, for their own defence or that of the sick and
(2) The presence on board of apparatus exclusively intended
to facilitate navigation or communication.
(3) The discovery on board
hospital ships or in sick-bays of portable arms and ammunition taken
from the wounded, sick and shipwrecked and not yet handed to the proper
(4) The fact that the humanitarian activities of hospital
ships and sick-bays of vessels or of the crews extend to the care of
wounded, sick or shipwrecked civilians.
(5) The transport of
equipment and of personnel intended exclusively for medical duties, over
and above the normal requirements.
Chapter IV. Personnel
Art 36. The religious, medical and hospital personnel of hospital ships
and their crews shall be respected and protected; they may not be captured
during the time they are in the service of the hospital ship, whether or not
there are wounded and sick on board.
Art 37. The religious, medical and hospital personnel assigned to the
medical or spiritual care of the persons designated in Articles 12 and 13
shall, if they fall into the hands of the enemy, be respected and protected;
they may continue to carry out their duties as long as this is necessary for
the care of the wounded and sick. They shall afterwards be sent back as soon
as the Commander-in-Chief, under whose authority they are, considers it
practicable. They may take with them, on leaving the ship, their personal
If, however, it prove necessary to retain some of this personnel owing to
the medical or spiritual needs of prisoners of war, everything possible
shall be done for their earliest possible landing.
Retained personnel shall be subject, on landing, to the provisions of the
Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and
Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949.
Chapter V. Medical Transports
Art 38. Ships chartered for that purpose shall be authorized to transport
equipment exclusively intended for the treatment of wounded and sick members
of armed forces or for the prevention of disease, provided that the
particulars regarding their voyage have been notified to the adverse Power
and approved by the latter. The adverse Power shall preserve the right to
board the carrier ships, but not to capture them or seize the equipment
By agreement amongst the Parties to the conflict, neutral observers may
be placed on board such ships to verify the equipment carried. For this
purpose, free access to the equipment shall be given.
Art 39. Medical aircraft, that is to say, aircraft exclusively employed
for the removal of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, and for the transport
of medical personnel and equipment, may not be the object of attack, but
shall be respected by the Parties to the conflict, while flying at heights,
at times and on routes specifically agreed upon between the Parties to the
They shall be clearly marked with the distinctive emblem prescribed in
Article 41, together with their national colours, on their lower, upper and
lateral surfaces. They shall be provided with any other markings or means of
identification which may be agreed upon between the Parties to the conflict
upon the outbreak or during the course of hostilities.
Unless agreed otherwise, flights over enemy or enemy-occupied territory
Medical aircraft shall obey every summons to alight on land or water. In
the event of having thus to alight, the aircraft with its occupants may
continue its flight after examination, if any.
In the event of alighting involuntarily on land or water in enemy or
enemy-occupied territory, the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, as well as the
crew of the aircraft shall be prisoners of war. The medical personnel shall
be treated according to Articles 36 and 37.
Art 40. Subject to the provisions of the second paragraph, medical
aircraft of Parties to the conflict may fly over the territory of neutral
Powers, land thereon in case of necessity, or use it as a port of call. They
shall give neutral Powers prior notice of their passage over the said
territory, and obey every summons to alight, on land or water. They will be
immune from attack only when flying on routes, at heights and at times
specifically agreed upon between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral
The neutral Powers may, however, place conditions or restrictions on the
passage or landing of medical aircraft on their territory. Such possible
conditions or restrictions shall be applied equally to all Parties to the
Unless otherwise agreed between the neutral Powers and the Parties to the
conflict, the wounded, sick or shipwrecked who are disembarked with the
consent of the local authorities on neutral territory by medical aircraft
shall be detained by the neutral Power, where so required by international
law, in such a manner that they cannot again take part in operations of war.
The cost of their accommodation and internment shall be borne by the Power
on which they depend.
Chapter VI. The Distinctive Emblem
Art 41. Under the direction of the competent military authority, the
emblem of the red cross on a white ground shall be displayed on the flags,
armlets and on all equipment employed in the Medical Service.
Nevertheless, in the case of countries which already use as emblem, in
place of the red cross, the red crescent or the red lion and sun on a white
ground, these emblems are also recognized by the terms of the present
Art 42. The personnel designated in Articles 36 and 37 shall wear,
affixed to the left arm, a water-resistant armlet bearing the distinctive
emblem, issued and stamped by the military authority.
Such personnel, in addition to wearing the identity disc mentioned in
Article 19, shall also carry a special identity card bearing the distinctive
emblem. This card shall be water-resistant and of such size that it can be
carried in the pocket. It shall be worded in the national language, shall
mention at least the surname and first names, the date of birth, the rank
and the service number of the bearer, and shall state in what capacity he is
entitled to the protection of the present Convention. The card shall bear
the photograph of the owner and also either his signature or his
fingerprints or both. It shall be embossed with the stamp of the military
The identity card shall be uniform throughout the same armed forces and,
as far as possible, of a similar type in the armed forces of the High
Contracting Parties. The Parties to the conflict may be guided by the model
which is annexed, by way of example, to the present Convention. They shall
inform each other, at the outbreak of hostilities, of the model they are
using. Identity cards should be made out, if possible, at least in
duplicate, one copy being kept by the home country.
In no circumstances may the said personnel be deprived of their insignia
or identity cards nor of the right to wear the armlet. In case of loss they
shall be entitled to receive duplicates of the cards and to have the
Art 43. The ships designated in Articles 22, 24, 25 and 27 shall be
marked as follows:
(a) All exterior surfaces shall be white.
(b) One or more dark
red crosses, as large as possible, shall be painted and displayed on
each side of the hull and on the horizontal surfaces, so placed as to
afford the greatest possible visibility from the sea and from the air.
All hospital ships shall make themselves known by hoisting their
national flag and further, if they belong to a neutral state, the flag of
the Party to the conflict whose direction they have accepted. A white flag
with a red cross shall be flown at the mainmast as high as possible.
Lifeboats of hospital ships, coastal lifeboats and au small craft used by
the Medical Service shall be painted white with dark red crosses prominently
displayed and shall, in general, comply with the identification system
prescribed above for hospital ships.
The above-mentioned ships and craft, which may wish to ensure by night
and in times of reduced visibility the protection to which they are
entitled, must, subject to the assent of the Party to the conflict under
whose power they are, take the necessary measures to render their painting
and distinctive emblems sufficiently apparent.
Hospital ships which, in accordance with Article 31, are provisionally
detained by the enemy, must haul down the flag of the Party to the conflict
in whose service they are or whose direction they have accepted.
Coastal lifeboats, if they continue to operate with the consent of the
Occupying Power from a base which is occupied, may be allowed, when away
from their base, to continue to fly their own national colours along with a
flag carrying a red cross on a white ground, subject to prior notification
to all the Parties to the conflict concerned.
All the provisions in this Article relating to the red cross shall apply
equally to the other emblems mentioned in Article 41.
Parties to the conflict shall at all times endeavour to conclude mutual
agreements in order to use the most modern methods available to facilitate
the identification of hospital ships.
Art 44. The distinguishing signs referred to in Article 43 can only be
used, whether in time of peace or war, for indicating or protecting the
ships therein mentioned, except as may be provided in any other
international Convention or by agreement between all the Parties to the
Art 45. The High Contracting Parties shall, if their legislation is not
already adequate, take the measures necessary for the prevention and
repression, at all times, of any abuse of the distinctive signs provided for
under Article 43.
Chapter VII. Execution of the Convention
Art 46. Each Party to the conflict, acting through its
Commanders-in-Chief, shall ensure the detailed execution of the preceding
Articles and provide for unforeseen cases, in conformity with the general
principles of the present Convention.
Art 47. Reprisals against the wounded, sick and shipwrecked persons, the
personnel, the vessels or the equipment protected by the Convention are
Art 48. The High Contracting Parties undertake, in time of peace as in
time of war, to disseminate the text of the present Convention as widely as
possible in their respective countries, and, in particular, to include the
study thereof in their programmes of military and, if possible, civil
instruction, so that the principles thereof may become known to the entire
population, in particular to the armed fighting forces, the medical
personnel and the chaplains.
Art 49. The High Contracting Parties shall communicate to one another
through the Swiss Federal Council and, during hostilities, through the
Protecting Powers, the official translations of the present Convention, as
well as the laws and regulations which they may adopt to ensure the
Chapter VIII. Repression of Abuses and Infractions
Art 50. The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation
necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or
ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present
Convention defined in the following Article.
Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for
persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such
grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their
nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in
accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons
over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such
High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case.
Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the
suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention
other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.
In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of
proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those
provided by Article 105 and those following of the Geneva Convention
relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949.
Art 51. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be
those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or
property protected by the Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman
treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great
suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and
appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried
out unlawfully and wantonly.
Art 52. No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or
any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by
another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the
Art 53. At the request of a Party to the conflict, an enquiry shall be
instituted, in a manner to be decided between the interested Parties,
concerning any alleged violation of the Convention.
If agreement has not been reached concerning the procedure for the
enquiry, the Parties should agree on the choice of an umpire, who will
decide upon the procedure to be followed.
Once the violation has been established, the Parties to the conflict
shall put an end to it and shall repress it with the least possible delay.
Art 54. The present Convention is established in English and in French.
Both texts are equally authentic.
The Swiss Federal Council shall arrange for official translations of the
Convention to be made in the Russian and Spanish languages.
Art 55. The present Convention, which bears the date of this day, is open
to signature until February 12, 1950, in the name of the Powers represented
at the Conference which opened at Geneva on April 21, 1949; furthermore, by
Powers not represented at that Conference, but which are parties to the Xth
Hague Convention of October 13, 1907 for the adaptation to Maritime Warfare
of the Principles of the Geneva Convention of 1906, or to the Geneva
Conventions of 1864, 1906 or 1929 for the Relief of the Wounded and Sick in
Armies in the Field.
Art 56. The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as possible and
the ratifications shall be deposited at Berne.
A record shall be drawn up of the deposit of each instrument of
ratification and certified copies of this record shall be transmitted by the
Swiss Federal Council to all the Powers in whose name the Convention has
been signed, or whose accession has been notified.
Art 57. The present Convention shall come into force six months after not
less than two instruments of ratification have been deposited.
Thereafter, it shall come into force for each High Contracting Party six
months after the deposit of the instrument of ratification.
Art 58. The present Convention replaces the Xth Hague Convention of
October 18, 1907, for the adaptation to Maritime Warfare of the principles
of the Geneva Convention of 1906, in relations between the High Contracting
Art 59. From the date of its coming into force, it shall be open to any
Power in whose name the present Convention has not been signed, to accede to
Art 60. Accessions shall be notified in writing to the Swiss Federal
Council, and shall take effect six months after the date on which they are
The Swiss Federal Council shall communicate the accessions to all the
Powers in whose name the Convention has been signed, or whose accession has
Art 61. The situations provided for in Articles 2 and 3 shall give
immediate effect to ratifications deposited and accessions notified by the
Parties to the conflict before or after the beginning of hostilities or
occupation. The Swiss Federal Council shall communicate by the quickest
method any ratifications or accessions received from Parties to the
Art 62. Each of the High Contracting Parties shall be at liberty to
denounce the present Convention.
The denunciation shall be notified in writing to the Swiss Federal
Council, which shall transmit it to the Governments of all the High
The denunciation shall take effect one year after the notification
thereof has been made to the Swiss Federal Council. However, a denunciation
of which notification has been made at a time when the denouncing Power is
involved in a conflict shall not take effect until peace has been concluded,
and until after operations connected with the release and repatriation of
the persons protected by the present Convention have been terminated.
The denunciation shall have effect only in respect of the denouncing
Power. It shall in no way impair the obligations which the Parties to the
conflict shall remain bound to fulfil by virtue of the principles of the law
of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized
peoples, from the laws of humanity and the dictates of the public
Art 63. The Swiss Federal Council shall register the present Convention
with the Secretariat of the United Nations. The Swiss Federal Council shall
also inform the Secretariat of the United Nations of all ratifications,
accessions and denunciations received by it with respect to the present
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, having deposited their respective
full powers, have signed the present Convention.
DONE at Geneva this twelfth day of August 1949, in the English and French
languages. The original shall be deposited in the Archives of the Swiss
Confederation. The Swiss Federal Council shall transmit certified copies
thereof to each of the signatory and acceding States.
Identity Card for Members of Medical and Religious Personnel attached to
the Armed Forces at Sea