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Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.

The only provision applicable to non-international armed conflicts before the adoption of the present Protocol was Article 3 common to all four Geneva Conventions of 1949. This Article proved to be inadequate in view of the fact that about 80% of the victims of armed conflicts since 1945 have been victims of non-international conflicts and that non-international conflicts are often fought with more cruelty than international conflicts. The aim of the present Protocol is to extend the essential rules of the law of armed conflicts to internal wars. The fear that the Protocol might affect State sovereignty, prevent governments from effectively maintaining law and order within their borders and that it might be invoked to justify outside intervention led to the decision of the Diplomatic Conference at its fourth session to shorten and simplify the Protocol. Instead of the 47 Articles proposed by the ICRC the Conference adopted only 28. The essential substance of the draft was, however, maintained. While the part on methods and means of combat was deleted, the prohibition to order that there shall be no survivors was retained in Article 4 (fundamental guarantees), and six articles remain dedicated to the protection of the civilian population (Part IV (Civilian Population) Articles 13 to 18). The restrictive definition of the material field of application in Article 1 will have the effect that Protocol II will be applicable to a smaller range of internal conflicts than Article 3 common to the Conventions of 1949.
     
 
Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts

yes

07.12.1978

1st session:20.02.1974 - 29.03.1974, Geneva; 2nd session:03.02.1975 - 18.04.1975, Geneva; 3rd session:21.04.1976 - 11.06.1976, Geneva; 4th session:17.03.1977 - 10.06.1977, Geneva

08.06.1977

Switzerland

28

English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian

Official Records of the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts, Bern, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, 1978

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