General Provisions
ARTICLE 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 of them.
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 thereof.
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 provisions:
1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including
members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and
Respect
for the
Convention1
Application of
the Convention
Conflicts not of
an international
character
1 The marginal notes or titles of articles have been drafted by the Swiss Federal
Department of Foreign Affairs.
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:
a) violence 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 judgment 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 for.
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 present Convention.
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 persons found.
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 65
Field of
application
Application
by neutral
Powers
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
Powers.
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
66 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Special
agreements
Nonrenunciation
of rights
Protecting
Powers
Activities
of the
International
Committee of
the Red Cross
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 Convention.
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
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 67
Substitutes
for Protecting
Powers
Conciliation
procedure
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 shipwrecked 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 armed forces.
2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer
corps, including those of organized resistance movements,
68 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Protection
and care
Protected
persons
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
distance;
c) that of carrying arms openly;
d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the
laws and customs of war.
3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a
Government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining
Power.
4) Persons 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.
5) Members 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.
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 69
Handing
over to a
belligerent
Wounded
taken on
board a
neutral
warship
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 being despoiled.
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;
b) army, regimental, personal or serial number;
c) surname;
d) first name or names;
e) date of birth;
f) any other particulars shown on his identity card or disc;
70 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Wounded
falling into
enemy hands
Wounded
landed in a
neutral port
Search for
casualties
after an
engagement
Recording
and
forwarding of
information
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 ofWar 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 ofWar 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 dead.
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.
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 71
Prescriptions
regarding
the dead
Appeals to
neutral
vessels
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 employed.
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
72 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Notification
and
protection of
military
hospital ships
Protection of
medical
establishments
ashore
Hospital
ships utilized
by relief
societies and
private
individuals of
I.
Parties to
the conflict
II.
Neutral
countries
Tonnage
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 sickbays
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 military purpose.
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.
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 73
Coastal
rescue craft
Protection of
sick-bays
Hospital ships
in occupied
ports
Employment
of hospital
ships and
small craft
Right of
control and
search
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 hospital 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 wounded.
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 service.
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.
74 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Stay in a
neutral port
Converted
merchant
vessels
Discontinuance
of
protection
Conditions
not depriving
hospital ships
of protection
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 Commanderin-
Chief, under whose authority they are, considers it practicable.
They may take with them, on leaving the ship, their personal
property.
If, however, it proves 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 to seize the equipment carried.
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.
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 75
Protection of
the personnel
of hospital
ships
Medical and
religious
personnel of
other ships
Ships used
for the
conveyance
of medical
equipment
ART. 39. — Medical aircraft, that is to say, aircraft exclusively
employed for the removal of 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 conflict concerned.
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 are prohibited.
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 Power concerned.
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 conflict.
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.
76 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Medical
aircraft
Flight over
neutral
countries.
Landing of
wounded
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 Convention.
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
authority.
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 cases
of loss they shall be entitled to receive duplicates of the cards and to
have the insignia replaced.
ART. 43. — The ships designated in Articles 22, 24, 25 and 27 shall
be distinctively marked as follows:
a) All exterior surfaces shall be white.
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 77
Use of the
emblem
Identification
of medical
and religious
personnel
Marking of
hospital ships
and small
craft
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 all 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 conflict concerned.
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.
78 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Limitation in
the use of
markings
Prevention of
misuse
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 prohibited.
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 application thereof.
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
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 79
Detailed
execution.
Unforeseen
cases
Prohibition
of reprisals
Translations.
Rules of
application
Penal
sanctions
I.
General
observations
Dissemination
of the
Convention
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 preceding Article.
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.
Final Provisions
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.
80 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
II.
Grave
breaches
III.
Responsibilities
of the
Contracting
Parties
Enquiry
procedure
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 18, 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 instruments 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 Parties.
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 this Convention.
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 received.
The Swiss Federal Council shall communicate the accessions to
all the Powers in whose name the Convention has been signed, or
whose accession has been notified.
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 conflict.
WOUNDED, SICK AND SHIPWRECKED 81
Signature
Ratification
Coming into
force
Relation to
the 1907
Convention
Accession
Notification
of accessions
Immediate
effect
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
Contracting Parties.
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 conscience.
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 Convention.
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.
82 SECOND GENEVA CONVENTION OF 1949
Denunciation
Registration
with the
United
Nations