Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
PARAGRAPH 1 -- WARNING
As we saw when considering Article 8
, the task of the Commissions is to make sure that the zones duly fulfil the conditions and obligations arising out of the Agreement. Should the Commissions note facts contrary to its stipulations, they should at once bring them to the notice [p.425] of the Power governing the zone and also notify the Power which has recognized it.
The wording of the Article shows clearly that the role of the Commissions is to note any cases where the rules governing the establishment of zones are not observed, and not cases of violation by the adverse Party. The Draft Agreement might be supplemented as regards the latter point; it might, for example, contain a reference to Article 52
of the Convention, which fixes the procedure for enquiries into cases of violation. (1)
The non-utilization of a zone for the purpose stipulated in the Agreement would no doubt in itself justify intervention by the Commission of control.
PARAGRAPH 2 -- WITHDRAWAL OF RECOGNITION
If, on the expiry of the five days grace allowed by the Commission of control, the Power responsible for the zone has not complied with the warning, the adverse Party may declare that it is no longer bound by the Agreement in respect of the said zone.
The 1938 Draft laid down that representations should first be made to the State which established the zone. Should these be unsuccessful, the Commission of control could resign its mandate. The text adopted by the Diplomatic Conference is very nearly identical with that submitted at the XVIIth International Red Cross Conference.
The wording of paragraph 2 implies that when the time limit of five days allowed to the establishing State has expired, the Commission of control is to address itself a second time to the adverse Party; only then may the latter declare that it is no longer bound by the Agreement in respect of the zone in question.
What would the consequence of such a declaration be? It would put an end to the privileged position of the zone, but it would not deprive the persons and property there of protection. The wounded and sick, and medical units, establishments, personnel and equipment would still be protected under the Geneva Convention. The local population, for their part, would continue to benefit by the general immunity which [p.426] international law assures them, and by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Article 6 of the First Convention
(Article 7 of the Fourth Convention
) lays down that no special agreement may adversely affect the situation of protected persons, nor restrict the rights which the Convention confers upon them. Article 9 of the Draft Agreement cannot, therefore, be interpreted as depriving the persons and property in a zone of the protection accorded them, independently of the Agreement, by the Conventions themselves. It should be remembered, finally, that the discontinuance of the protection to which medical establishments are entitled is subject to the conditions laid down in Article 21 of the Convention
* (1) [(1) p.425] See above, p. 374. This was the solution
adopted in the 1938 Draft, which referred to Article 30 of
the 1929 Convention;