DRAFT INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE
CONDITION AND PROTECTION OF CHILIANS
OF ENEMY NATIONALITY WHO ARE ON
TERRITORY BELONGING TO OR OCCUPDED BY
Recommended by the XVth International Red Cross Conference, Tokyo, 1934
INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The law of war, until World War 1, was based on the assumption that civilians enjoyed complete immunity from war operations. No provisions with respect to civilians existed except those on their treatment in occupied territory, contained in the Hague Regulations of 1899 and 1907 (Nos. 7 and 8, Annexes). World War I fundamentally altered the situation. Enemy civilians in the territories of belligerents were interned in great numbers notwithstanding the lack of relevant provisions. Moreover, the provisions of the Hague Regulations on occupied territories proved to be insufficient in view of changed circumstances. After the war, the ICRC, invited by several International Red Cross Conferences, prepared drafts for a convention on the protection of civilians in the territory of belligerents and in occupied territories. These efforts, however, for several years, did not find the necessary support of governments. Some governments feared that a new convention relating to war would undermine the cause of peace. As a consequence, no draft on civilians was submitted to the Diplomatic Conference of 1929. Yet this Conference recommended “that an exhaustive study should be made with a view to the conclusion of an international Convention regarding the condition and protection of civilians of enemy nationality in the territory of a belligerent or in the territory occupied by a belligerent” (see No.44, Recommendation V1). In response to this request, the ICRC prepared the draft reproduced below, which was approved by the International Red Cross Conference in Tokyo in 1934 with a view to its submission to a diplomatic conference convened by the Swiss government. Due to the slowness of government reactions, the date of the conference could not be set until 1939. It was fixed for the beginning of 1940. The outbreak of the war in September 1939 prevented its taking place. From the outset of the war, the ICRC proposed to belligerents to apply the rules of the draft, yet belligerents preferred to apply the Prisoners of War Convention of 1929 (No. 46) by analogy to interned civilians.
AUTHENTIC TEXT: French. The translation below is an inofficial translation by the ICRC.
TEXT PUBLISHED IN: Quinzième Conférence internationale de la Croix Rouge, tenue à Tokyo du 20 au 29 octobre 1934, Compte rendu, Tokyo 1934, pp. 262–268 (French). ICRC web site: www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf; University of Minnesota Human Rights Library: wwwl.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/ 1934b.htm.