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Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977: Ratifications, accessions and successions as at 31 December 1994

28-02-1995 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 304

 1. Abbreviations  

R/A/S = 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. The States which have not signed them may at any time accede or, in the appropriate circumstances, succeed to them.

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

 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 (declaration of provisional application of the treaties). At present no State is bound by such a declaration.

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 reservations are not in compatible 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).

 2. Dates  

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 by the State concerned nor that on which the corresponding instrument was sent.

N.B.: The dates given for succession to the Geneva Conventions by CONGO, JAMAICA, MADAGASCAR, MAURITANIA, NIGER, NIGERIA, RWANDA, SENEGAL, SIERRA LEONE and ZAIRE used to be those on which the corresponding instruments had been officially adopted. They have now been replaced by the dates on which the depositary received those instruments.  

 3. Entry into force  

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 accession to independence.

 The 1949 Geneva Conventions entered into force on 21 October 1950.

 The 1977 Protocols entered into force on 7 December 1978.

 4. Names of countries  

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

 5. Update since 31.12.93  


 Ratifications, accessions or successions to Additional Protocol I  

 San Marino : 05.04.1994

 Ethiopia : 08.04.1994

 Lesotho : 20.05.1994

 Dominican Republic 26.05.1994

 Namibia : 17.06.1994

 Ratifications, accessions or successions to Additional Protocol II  

 San Marino : 05.04.1994

 Ethiopia : 08.04.1994

 Lesotho : 20.05.1994

 Dominican Republic : 26.05.1994

 Namibia : 17.06.1994

 Declaration under Article 90  

 Rwanda : 08.07.1993 (notification: 17.01.95)

 Bulgaria : 09.05.1994

 Portugal : 01.07.1994

 Namibia : 21.07.1994

 6. Ratifications, accessions and successions  


Afghanistan to Cuba  
Cyprus to Kenya  
Kiribati to Philippines  
Poland to Ukraine  
United Arab Emirates to Zimbabwe  



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. Entry into force on 23.09.66, the Republic of Korea having invoked Art.62/61/141/157 common 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 21.10.50.

10. Accession to the First Geneva Convention on 17.05.1963.


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.


Party to the 1929 Geneva Conventions (sick and wounded, prisoners of war).

 7. Totals  

 Number of States party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions : 185  

 Number of States party to Additional Protocol I : 135  

 Number of States having made the declaration under Article 90: 42  

 Number of States party to Additional Protocol II : 125  

 Number of States Members of the United Nations : 185  

States Members of the UN or Parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, not party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions: Eritrea, Lithuania, Marshall, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau.

 8. Chronological list of States having made the declaration provided for under Article 90 of Protocol  

 1 Sweden : 31.08.1979

 2 Finland : 07.08.1980

 3 Norway : 14.12.1981

 4 Switzerland : 17.02.1982

 5 Denmark : 17.06.1982

 6 Austria : 13.08.1982

 7 Italy : 27.02.1986

 8 Belgium : 27.03.1987

 9 Iceland : 10.04.1987

 10 Netherlands : 26.06.1987

 11 New Zealand : 08.02.1988

 12 Malta : 17.04.1989

 13 Spain : 21.04.1989

 14 Liechtenstein : 10.08.1989

 15 Algeria : 16.08.1989

 16 Russian Federation 29.09.1989

 17 Belarus : 23.10.1989

 18 Ukraine : 25.01.1990

 19 Uruguay : 17.07.1990

 20 Canada : 20.11.1990

 21 Germany : 14.02.1991

 22 Chile : 24.04.1991

 23 Hungary : 23.09.1991

 24 Qatar : 24.09.1991

 25 Togo : 21.11.1991

 26 United Arab Emirates 06.03.1992

 27 Slovenia : 26.03.1992

 28 Croatia : 11.05.1992

 29 Seychelles : 22.05.1992

 30 Bolivia : 10.08.1992

 31 Australia : 23.09.1992

 32 Poland : 02.10.1992

 33 Bosnia-Herzegovina 31.12.1992

 34 Luxembourg : 12.05.1993

 35 Rwanda : 08.07.1993

 36 Madagascar : 27.07.1993

 37 The Former Y.R. of Macedonia : 01.09.1993

 38 Brazil : 23.11.1993

 39 Guinea : 20.12.1993

 40 Bulgaria : 09.05.1994

 41 Portugal : 01.07.1994

 42 Namibia : 21.07.1994