Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
-- IMMEDIATE EFFECT
[p.410] Should war break out, or a similar situation arise -- cases for which the Convention has been specifically designed -- it is obvious that the entry into force of the latter cannot be subject to the six months waiting period which follows ratification or accession under normal peacetime conditions.
A ratification or the notification of an accession will therefore take effect immediately as far as the country or countries affected by such events are concerned. The Convention will enter into force from the outbreak of hostilities or the beginning of occupation if the ratification has already been deposited, or from the date of the deposit of the ratification if it is deposited later.
The 1929 Convention contained a similar provision, but only referred to "a state of war". The 1949 text refers to Articles 2
, since an essential object of these two new Articles is to define the situations in which the Convention is to be applied -- namely, cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict, even if a state of war is not recognized by one of the Parties (Article 2, paragraph 1
) (1), the total or partial occupation of a territory, even if it meets with no armed resistance (Article 2, paragraph 2
), and, lastly, armed conflicts not of an international character (Article 3
The Article which we are studying also mentions that the Federal Council is to communicate ratifications or accessions to signatory States "by the quickest method". A serious turn of events demands the taking of urgent measures. The customary procedure, as laid down in Article 57, paragraph 2
, is no longer required. Suitable means, such as a telegram, will be used.
* (1) [(1) p.410] The ratification or accession of a Power will
also clearly take effect immediately where its opponent in
the conflict is a Power which is not party to the
Convention, even if that Power refuses to apply the
latter's provisions. The third paragraph of Article 2,
which raises the principle of reciprocity, only affects
the application of the Convention and not its entry into
force, and can in no way prevent the immediate effect of
the ratification. The fact that a conflict his broken out
or that a similar situation has arisen is the only
determining factor here; the enemy's position with regard
to the Convention does not affect the issue;
See the Commentary of 2016