370 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
provisions found in other treaties and added the broad provisions regarding
civilians caught up in conflicts between states.
Three protocols followed the 1949 Geneva Convention. The first two
were made in 1977. They sought to improve the legal protection for civilians
and the wounded. The first protocol dealt with those affected by international
conflicts and the second with those affected by non-international
conflicts: civil wars. Two protocols were needed because some states were
not prepared to grant the same degree of protection in both cases.
There was a third protocol in 2005, which introduced a symbol, additional
to the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, for those countries who preferred
not to use a symbol that bore either Christian or Muslim
connotations. For them, the Red Crystal was created.
How is the Geneva Convention enforced? Article 49 provides that all “High
Contracting Parties” shall enact legislation permitting the prosecution of
those who violate the provisions of the treaty. Extradition would be available
in the ordinary way, to acquire jurisdiction over someone beyond the
jurisdiction of the particular country’s courts. In addition, now, the International
Criminal Court can enforce the provisions of the convention and the
United Nations organization can constitute special tribunals to prosecute
offences, as it did for Rwanda.
One hundred and ninety-four nations are party to the Geneva Convention.
One hundred and ninety-two nations belong to the United Nations
organization. The process for becoming a party to the Geneva Convention
is a bit odd, though standard procedure for international treaties. First a representative
of a nation will sign. Then the nation will ratify the treaty,
authorized by an act of the nation’s legislature. The ratification will be
deposited with the Swiss Federal Council in Geneva, which is where the
Geneva Convention itself is deposited, if you want to go and look at it.
There are time limits for signing and for ratification. If a nation wishes to
become a party to the treaty after the time limits have expired, it can
“adhere” to the treaty. There is also provision for withdrawing from the
treaty. This is called, in the quaint vocabulary of international diplomacy,
“denunciation”. Without such provision, it would not be possible to withdraw
without the consent of all the other parties—it is, after all, a contract,
and normal rules of contract law apply.
OTHER NOTABLE TREATIES
Following the 1949 Geneva Convention a whole series of treaties relating to