Grave breaches specified in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and in additional Protocol I of 1977


Grave breaches specified in the four 1949 Geneva Conventions (Art 50, 51, 130,147 respectively)

- wilful killing;

- torture or inhuman treatment;

- biological experiments;

- wilfully causing great suffering;

- causing serious injury to body or health;

- extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly

(this provision is not included in Art. 130 third Geneva Convention).


Grave breaches specified in the third and fourth 1949 Geneva Conventions (Art 130 and 147 respectively)

- compelling a prisoner of war or a protected civilian to serve in the armed forces of the hostile Power;

- wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or a protected person of the rights or fair and regular trial prescribed in the Conventions.


Grave breaches specified in the fourth 1949 Geneva Convention (Art147)

- unlawful deportation or transfer;

- unlawful confinement of a protected person;

- taking of hostages.


Grave breaches specified in the Additional Protocol l of 1977 (Art. 11 and Art. 85)

- seriously endangering, by any wilful and unjustified act or omission, physical or mental health and integrity of persons who are in the power of the adverse Party or who are interned, detained or otherwise deprived of liberty as a result of an armed conflict, in particular physical mutilations, medical or scientific experiments, removal of tissue or organs for transplantation which is not indicated by the state of health of the person concerned or not consistent with generally accepted medical standards which would be applied under similar medical circumstances to persons who are nationals of the Party conducting the procedure and in no way deprived of liberty;

When committed wilfully and if they cause death or serious injury to body and health:

- making the civilian population or individual  civilians the object of attack;

- launching an indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects;

- launching an attack against works or installations containing dangerous forces in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage civilian objects;

- making non-defended localities and demilitarised zones the object of attack;

- making a person the object of an attack in the knowledge that he is hors de combat,

- the perfidious use of the distinctive emblem of the red cross and red crescent or other protective signs;


When committed wilfully and in violation of the Conventions and the Protocol:

- the transfer by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory;

- unjustifiable delay in the repatriation of prisoners of war or civilians;

- practices of apartheid and other inhuman and degrading practices involving outrages upon personal dignity, based on racial discrimination;

- attacking clearly recognised historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples and to which special protection has been given, causing as a result extensive destruction thereof when such objects are not located in the immediate proximity of military objectives or used by the adverse party in support of its military effort;

- depriving a person protected by the Conventions or by Protocol l of the rights of fair and regular trial.

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