Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- IMMEDIATE EFFECT
[p.623] Should war break out or a similar situation arise, 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 situation 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
Article 157 also mentions that he 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 152, paragraph 2
, is in that case no longer required. Suitable means such as a telegram will be used.
Notes: (1) [(1) p.623] The ratification or accession of a Power will
also clearly 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. The third paragraph of
Article 2, which raises the principle of reciprocity
affects only the application of the Convention, and not
its entry into force. and can in no way prevent the
immediate effect of the ratification. The fact that a
conflict has broken out or that a similar situation has
arisen is the only determining factor here; the enemy's
position with regard to the Convention does not affect the