Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
Treaties and Documents
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.
. -- TRANSLATIONS: RULES OF APPLICATION
The "official translations" of the Convention are those drawn up by the executive authorities in a country under the terms of their own law. Countries with more than one national language may, therefore, communicate several translations. The versions in French, English, Spanish and Russian should be excluded, however, since the two first are the authentic texts of the Convention, while the last two have been officially made by the Swiss Federal Council under the terms of Article 150
. At the moment this commentary was published, translations made by governments have added to these four texts official versions in Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, [p.583] Hebrew, Hungarian Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Serbo-Croat, Swedish and Thai.
The widest possible interpretation should be given to the expression "laws and regulations" which are also. to be communicated. This means all legal documents issued by the executive and the legislative authorities connected in any way with the application of the Convention. Thus, States will have to communicate to one another laws passed in application of Articles of the Convention; they will also be obliged, however, to communicate laws and regulations they may adopt which are not obligatory under the Convention. Several provisions in the Convention call in various cases for adaptations or additions to national laws. Penal sanctions, regulations for internment, the establishment of safety zones, the protection of civilian hospitals, the use of the red cross emblem and the identification of young children, all call for legislative action on which the application of the Convention can be based. It is important that the parties to the Convention should be informed of them and the most expeditious procedure for this purpose is to use as intermediary the
Swiss Federal Council, which is the depositary of the Geneva Conventions.