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Commentary - Respect for and scope of application of this Protocol
Article 1 - Respect for and scope of application of this Protocol

1. Paragraph 1

This subparagraph is taken verbatim from Article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions and from Article 1, paragraph 1, of Additional Protocol I. No specific comments are called for in the context of Additional Protocol III; the reader may simply refer to the relevant commentaries on the Conventions and Additional Protocol I.[32]

2. Paragraph 2

Much of the second paragraph of Article 1 echoes the first paragraph of the preamble. It reiterates the objectives of Additional Protocol III – to reaffirm the relevance of the provisions of the four Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 concerning the distinctive emblems while further developing the law on the subject. The paragraph also makes it clear that the Additional Protocol supplements the other instruments, and does not replace any of their provisions.
The main interest of this paragraph lies in the definition (particularly in temporal terms) of the scope of application of Additional Protocol III by referring to the relevant provisions of the Conventions and the two Additional Protocols of 1977. Additional Protocol III applies in situations of armed conflict, whether international or non-international. It should be noted, however, that the rules relating to the emblem form part of those “provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime,” to quote the wording of Article 2 common to the Geneva Conventions. Their application therefore does not depend on the existence of an armed conflict.


32. See especially Commentary on Protocol I, above note 17, pp. 34-39 (§§ 36-51).