The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview

No. 4
FINAL ACT OF THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE
CONFERENCE

Signed at The Hague, 29 July 1899

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The First Hague Peace Conference of 1899 was convened on the initiative of the Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, “with the object of seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments” (Russian note of 30 December 1898/11 January 1899). The Conference, at which 26 governments were represented, assembled on 18 May 1899 and adjourned on 29 July 1899. It failed to reach agreement on the primary object for which it was called, namely the limitation or reduction of armaments, but adopted the three Conventions and the other acts mentioned in the Final Protocol. Provision was made for the convening of a second conference. Russia being at war with Japan in the following years, the President of the United States of America undertook the first steps with a view to convening this second conference. After the termination of the Russo-Japanese war the Czar of Russia resumed the initiative and proposed the holding of the Second International Peace Conference at The Hague. The programme was drafted by Russia. The Conference, at which 44 states were represented, lasted from 15 June until 18 October 1907. It revised the three Conventions of 1899 and adopted ten new Conventions as well as a number of other acts mentioned in the Final Act of 1907. It recommended the holding of a third international peace conference. Due to the outbreak of the First World War the third conference never took place.

The Final Acts constitute authoritative statements of the results achieved. They were signed by the delegates but not ratified by the participating states. They have no binding force.

AUTHENTIC TEXT: French. The English translation below is reprinted from Scott, Hague Conventions, pp. 1–31. It reproduces the translations of the United States Department of State.

TEXT PUBLISHED IN: Conférence internationale de la Paix, 1899, pp. 216–223 (French); Les deux Conférences de la Paix, pp. 5–11 (French); Les Conférences de la Paix de La Haye de 1899 et 1907, Acte Final, Paris, A. Pédone, 1927, pp. 3–7 (French); Scott, Hague Conventions, pp. 1–31, 39 (Engl.); Scott, Les Conventions de La Haye, pp. 1–31, 39 (French); Scott, Les Conférences de La Haye, pp. 3–7 (French); Martens, NRGT, 2ème série, Vol. XXVI, pp. 258–266 (French); Deltenre, pp. 146–151 (Engl., French, German, Dutch); Olivart, Vol. XII, pp. 549–566 (French); BFSP, Vol. 91, 1898–1899, pp. 963–970 (French); Higgins, pp. 60–71 (Engl., French); AJIL, Vol. 1, 1907, SuppL. pp. 103–107 (Engl., French); De Clercq, Vol. XXI, pp. 745–754 (French); Bustamante, pp. 182–185 (Span.); Droit des conflits armés, pp. 49–52 (French); ICRC website: www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf.

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