Adoption of the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977: A milestone in the development of international humanitarian law

On 8 June 1977, the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts adopted two Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. This was the result of nearly ten years of intensive and delicate negotiations. Additional Protocol I protects the victims of international armed conflicts, while Additional Protocol II protects the victims of non-international armed conflicts. These Protocols, which do not replace but supplement the 1949 Geneva Conventions, updated both the law protecting war victims and the law on the conduct of hostilities. This article commemorates the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the 1977 Additional Protocols.

About the author

François Bugnion
Independent consultant in international humanitarian law and humanitarian action

François Bugnion is an independent consultant in international humanitarian law and humanitarian action. He joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1970 and served as a delegate in Israel and the occupied territories, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Cyprus, and then as head of mission in Chad, Viet Nam, and Cambodia. From 2000 to 2006, he was Director for International Law and Cooperation at the ICRC. He has been a member of the ICRC Assembly since May 2010. He is the author of more than fifty books and articles on international humanitarian law and on the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.