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

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview

Nos. 7– 8
HAGUE CONVENTIONS ON LAND WARFARE 1899/1907
No. 7 CONVENTION (II) WITH RESPECT TO THE
LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND

Signed at The Hague, 29 July 1899 No. 8 CONVENTION (IV) RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND Signed at The Hague, 18 October 1907

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: One of the purposes for which the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899 was convened was “the revision of the declaration concerning the laws and customs of war elaborated in 1874 by the Conference of Brussels, and not yet ratified” (Russian circular note of 30 December 1898). The Conference of 1899 succeeded in adopting a Convention on land warfare to which Regulations are annexed. The Convention and the Regulations were revised at the Second International Peace Conference in 1907. As the two versions of the Convention and the Regulations differ only slightly from each other, they ate printed side by side as in The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907, by James Brown Scott, and in The Hague Peace Conferences, by A. Pearce Higgins. The differences between the two versions are indicated by italics. The marginal titles added to the Conventions have no official character. They are reproduced, with a few exceptions, from James Brown Scott's edition of the texts.

Eighteen of the states that ratified the 1899 Convention did not ratify the 1907 version (Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Greece, Honduras, Italy, Korea, Montenegro, Paraguay, Persia, Peru, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela). These states or their successor states remain formally bound by the 1899 Convention in their relations with the other parties thereto. As between the parties to the 1907 Convention, this Convention has replaced the 1899 Convention (see Article 4 of the 1907 Convention).

The provisions of the two Conventions on land warfare, like most of the substantive provisions of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, are considered as embodying rules of customary international law. As such they are also binding on states which are not formally parties to them. In 1946 the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal stated with regard to the Hague Convention on land warfare of 1907: “The rules of land warfare expressed in the Convention undoubtedly represented an advance over existing International Law at the time of their adoption but by 1939 these rules were recognized by all civilized nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war” (Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945 October 1946. Vol. I: Official text in the English language. Published at Nuremberg, Germany, 1947, pp. 253–254). The International Military Tribunal for the Far East expressed, in 1948, an identical view.

The rules embodied in the Regulations were partly reaffirmed and developed by Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, adopted in 1977 (No. 56).

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