Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (Protocol III), 8 December 2005
Entry into force
Article 11 - Entry into force
Entry into force is the starting point in the implementation of a legal instrument; it is the moment from which the text takes full legal effect as a result of meeting the conditions laid down in the instrument concerned.
 Article 11
, paragraph 1 (which repeats verbatim the text of Article 95
, paragraph 1, of Additional Protocol I and Article 23
, paragraph 1, of Additional Protocol II), requires the deposit of two instruments of ratification or accession as a
sine qua non
for the entry into force of Additional Protocol III. This small number – which also applies for the Conventions – facilitates the text’s entry into force among the Contracting Parties.
Furthermore, for the first two Contracting Parties there is an interval of six months between the deposit of the second instrument of ratification or accession and the entry into force of Additional Protocol III. Such an interval was also provided for by the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The objective of this interval is twofold. First, it gives States concerned time to prepare the legislative or administrative measures necessary to fulfil their new obligations. Second, it enables the depositary to proceed with the required notifications.
 Such steps are also necessary with respect to Additional Protocol III. Certain States raised objections to a previous version of the text, which sought to speed up the entry into force of Additional Protocol III to the day after the deposit of the first two instruments of ratification or accession. The traditional interval of six months, as already established by the provisions of Additional Protocols I and II and the Geneva Conventions, is therefore retained.
Norway was the first State to ratify Additional Protocol III on 6 June 2006; the second, Switzerland, ratified it on 14 July 2006. Additional Protocol III accordingly entered into force on 14 January 2007.
Copied from the parallel provisions of Additional Protocols I and II,
 this subparagraph concerns States other than the first two Contracting Parties. With respect to the relationship between the latter and the subsequent Contracting Parties, it provides for an interval of six months (identical to that laid down in paragraph 1) between the deposit by a State of its instrument of ratification or accession and the Protocol’s entry into force for that State. The reasons for inserting this interval are exactly the same as for paragraph 1. The previous version of the draft, which also recommended entry into force the day after the deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession, was thus modified to revert to the classic rule.
Nevertheless, there is an exception to the six-month interval. The emergence of a conflict situation gives immediate effect to the ratifications and accessions of the parties to that conflict. This point is not mentioned explicitly in the text of Additional Protocol III (nor does it appear in Additional Protocols I or II); however, it is derived from the Conventions, and, considering the "additional" character of the Protocol, it can be transposed without necessarily being repeated.
note 19, p. 433.
Commentary on Protocol
note 17, p. 1080 (§ 3731).
68. See the second paragraph respectively of Additional Protocol I, Article 95
, and Additional Protocol II, Article 23
Commentary on Protocol I
, above note 17, p. 1081 (§§ 3737-3739)