China: Conference Marks the 40th Anniversary of 1977 Additional Protocols to Geneva Conventions

27 July 2017

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in cooperation with the Institute of International Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences organized a Conference Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Adoption of the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, 19-20 May 2017 in Beijing.

The two-day Conference has gathered nearly 100 representatives, experts and scholars from the Chinese government, the legislative body, the People's Liberation Army, the Secretariat of Chinese National Committee for International Humanitarian Law (NCIHL), think tanks, academic institutions, and the ICRC.

 The year 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption of Protocols I and II additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Their adoption in 1977 was a milestone in the regulation of armed conflicts, and the rules codified in the two Additional Protocols reaffirmed and complemented the Geneva Conventions. The Conference covered a range of current international humanitarian law (IHL) issues in the context of the 40th anniversary of the Additional Protocols of 1977, including key achievements and challenges of the 1977 Additional Protocols, rules and principles on the conduct of hostilities and their application in modern warfare, new technology and warfare, strengthening protection of civilians in contemporary armed conflict, repression of breaches to the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, and ensuring respect for IHL and China's contribution.

It was generally acknowledged by the participants of this Conference that the current IHL framework is in principle sufficient to regulate contemporary armed conflicts. The real challenge to IHL is whether parties to a conflict respect for and comply with the existing rules. It is imperative that the international community strives to ensure effective implementation of and compliance with existing IHL rules and principles.