Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims of 12 August 1949 and Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977 Ratifications, accessions and successions as at 31 December 1996

30-04-1997 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 317

 State as at 31 December 1996  

States party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions 

States party to Additional Protocol I 

States having made the declaration under Article 90:

States party to Additional Protocol II 





 Preliminary remarks  

The names of countries given in the following list may differ from the official names of States.

The dates indicated are those on which the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs received the official instrument from the State that was ratifying, acceding to or succeeding to the Conventions or Protocols or accepting the competence of the Commission provided for under Article 90 of Protocol I. They thus represent neither the date on which ratification, accession, succession or acceptance of the Commission was decided upon nor that on which the corresponding instrument was sent.

Except as mentioned in footnotes at the end of the tables, for all States the entry into force of the Conventions and of the Protocols occurs six months after the date given in the present document; for States which have made a declaration of succession, entry into force takes place retroactively, on the day of their accessionto independence.


 R = ratification: a treaty is generally open for signature for a certain time following the conference which has adopted it. However, a signature is not binding on a State unless it has been endorsed by ratification. The time limits having elapsed, the Conventions and the Protocols are no longer open for signature. As all signatory States of the Conventions have ratified them in the meantime, only the 1977 Protocols may be ratified by those signatory States which have not yet done so.

 A = accession: instead of signing and then ratifying a treaty, a State may become party to it by the single act called accession.

 S = succession (declaration of): a newly independent State may declare that it will abide by a treaty which was applicable to it prior to its independence. A State may also declare that it will provisionally abide by such treaties during the time it deems necessary to examine their texts carefully and to decide on accession or succession to some or all of the said treaties.

 R/D =reservation/declaration : unilateral statement, however phrased or named, made by a State when ratifying, acceding or succeeding to a treaty, whereby it purports to exclude or to modify the legal effect of certain provisions of the treaty in their application to that State (provided that such statement is not incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty).

 D90 = Declaration provided for under article 90 of Protocol I: prior acceptance of the competence of the International Fact-Finding Commission.






On 21 June 1989, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs received a letter from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva informing the Swiss Federal Council " that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, entrusted with the functions of the Government of the State of Palestine by decision of the Palestine National Council, decided, on 4 May 1989, to adhere to the Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the two Protocols additional thereto " .

On 13 September 1989, the Swiss Federal Council informed the States that it was not in a position to decide whether the letter constituted an instrument of accession, " due to the uncertainty within the international community as to the existence or non-existence of a State of Palestine " .

 Notes :  

1. Djibouti's declaration of succession in respect of the First Convention was dated 26.01.78.

2. On accession to Protocol II, France made a communication concerning Protocol I.

3. Entry into force on 07.12.78.

4. Entry into force on 07.12.78.

5. Entered into force on 23.09.66, the Republic of Korea having invoked Art.62/61/141/157 c ommon respectively to the First, Second, Third and Fourth Conventions (immediate effect).

6. An instrument of accession to the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols was deposited by the United Nations Council for Namibia on 18.10.83. In an instrument deposited on 22.08.91, Namibia declared its succession to the Geneva Conventions, which were previously applicable pursuant to South Africa's accession on 31.03.52.

7. The First Geneva Convention was ratified on 7.03.1951.

8. Accession to the Fourth Geneva Convention on 23 February 1959 (Ceylon had signed only the First, Second, and Third Conventions).

9. Entry into force on 21.10.1950.

10. Accession to the First Geneva Convention on 17.03.1963.