Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- IMMEDIATE EFFECT
[p.646] Should war or armed conflict break out, the entry into force of the Convention obviously cannot be subject to the six months waiting period which follows ratification or accession under normal peacetime conditions.
Ratification or accession will therefore take effect immediately as far as the country or countries affected by such events are concerned. The Convention will enter into force from the outbreak of hostilities or the beginning of occupation if the ratification has already been deposited, or from the date of the deposit of the ratification if it is deposited later.
The 1929 Conventions contained a similar provision, but only referred to "a state of war". The 1949 text refers to Articles 2
, since an essential object of these two new Articles is to define the situations in which the Convention is to be applied -- namely cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict, even if a state of war is not recognized by one of the Parties (Article 2, paragraph 1
) (1), the total or partial occupation of a territory even if it meets with no armed resistance (Article 2, paragraph 2
), and, lastly, armed conflicts not of an international character (Article 3
The Federal Council is to communicate ratifications or accessions to signatory States "by the quickest method". Grave events demand urgent measures. The customary procedure, as laid down in Article 137, paragraph 2
, is in that case no longer required. Suitable means such as a telegram will be used.
* (1) [(1) p.646] The ratification or accession of a Power will
also take effect immediately where its opponent in the
conflict is a Power which is not party to the Convention,
even if that Power refuses to apply the provisions of the
Convention (Article 2, paragraph 3);