Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- TRANSLATIONS. RULES OF APPLICATION
[p.260] The "official translations" of the Convention are those drawn up by the executive authorities in a country under the terms of their own law. Countries with more than one national language may, therefore, communicate several translations. The versions in English, French, Russian and Spanish should be excluded, however, since the first two are the authentic texts of the Convention, while the last two have been officially prepared by the Swiss Federal Council under the terms of Article 54
. At the time of publication of the present Commentary, the translations made by Governments have added to these four texts official versions in Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Rumanian, Serbo-Croat, Swedish and Thai.
The widest possible interpretation should be given to the expression "laws and regulations", which are also to be communicated. This means all legal instruments issued by the executive and legislative authorities connected in any way with the application of the Convention. Thus, the States will have to communicate to one another laws enacted in application of the Articles of the Convention. The Articles concerned are: Article 13
: definition of protected persons (particularly a determination of those considered as members of the armed forces); Article 42, paragraph 3
: identity cards for medical and religious personnel; Article 20
: prescriptions regarding the dead; Articles 22
: characteristics of hospital ships (registered gross tonnage, length from stem to stern, number of masts and funnels and, if possible, photograph and silhouette); Article 45
: prevention of misuse of the distinctive emblem; Article 39, paragraph 2
: marking of medical aircraft; Article 48
: dissemination of the Convention; Articles 50
to 52: repression of abuses and infractions.
It is important that the parties to the Convention should be informed of such laws and regulations, and the most appropriate procedure would seem to be to use as intermediary the Swiss Federal Council, which is the depositary of the Geneva Conventions.