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Final Act of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1974-1977.
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Soon after the adoption of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 it became clear that additional rules would be necessary for the protection of the civilian population against the effects of hostilities. The Geneva Conventions are concerned only with persons in the power of a party to a conflict, the only exception being Part II (Articles 13-26) of the Fourth Geneva Convention which deals with the protection of the population against certain consequences of war. In 1956, the ICRC, with the approval of the International Conference of the Red Cross, submitted to the governments the Draft Rules for the Limitation of the Dangers Incurred by the Civilian Population in Time of War. The time was not ready, however, for their adoption as an international convention. It was only in the mid-1960's that the interest in the law of armed conflicts awoke as a consequence of the conflicts in Vietnam, the Middle-East, Nigeria and other parts of the World, later also in connection with the struggles against colonial and alien domination and racist regimes. In 1965, the International Conference of the Red Cross adopted a resolution urging the ICRC to pursue the development of international humanitarian law. In 1968, the International Conference on Human Rights at Tehran, convened by the United Nations General Assembly, emphasized the need for additional humanitarian conventions, and in the same year, the General Assembly supported this request. In 1969, the International Conference of the Red Cross asked the ICRC to work out proposals for the completion of the humanitarian law and to convene government and other experts for consultation on such proposals. On the basis of these and later resolutions, the ICRC convened two successive conferences of government experts in Geneva (24 May - 12 June 1971, and 3 May - 3 June 1972) in order to prepare two draft protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions, one on international armed conflicts, the other on non-international armed conflicts. In 1973, the ICRC published the two draft protocols and the Swiss Federal Council convened the Diplomatic Conference which held four sessions from 1974 to 1977. The dates of the sessions and the States represented at them are indicated in the Final Act. The two Protocols were adopted by consensus on 8 June 1977. The Final Act was signed on 10 June 1977 by the representatives of 102 States and of 3 National Liberation Movements. The two Protocols were opened for signature on 12 December 1977.

The Final Act has no force of law.
Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts

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


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Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, 1977, pp.123-124.

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