Participation in the Geneva Conventions (1864 - 1949) and the Additional Protocols of 1977
Etudes et essais sur le droit international humanitaire et sur les principes de la Croix-Rouge : en l'honneur de Jean Pictet = Studies and essays on international humanitarian law and Red Cross principles : in honour of Jean Pictet
Genève : CICR ; La Haye : Nijhoff, 1984
Participation clauses dictate how States engage in and comply with international humanitarian law (IHL) conventions. States demonstrate their participation either during the drafting process via signatures, or afterwards via accession. Ratification constitutes a State’s practical compliance with a convention’s principles. The author traces the evolution of participation clauses in IHL, from 1864 until the Additional Protocols of 1977. Developments such as signature and ratification; non-signatory consent through accession; and issues of discrepancy between conventions; all drove the evolution of these clauses. The first Geneva Convention in 1864 contained no signature clause but demanded ratification within four months. Accession was added for Government representatives unable to attend. Procedural rules could also be accepted ad hoc from parties lacking State status, which was the case for principles proposed by organizations like the Red Cross. Discrepancies in the participation requirements of the Geneva and Hague Conventions in the early 20th century culminated in the attempt, in 1949, to incorporate all aspects of IHL into a single set of conventions. The participation clauses were modernized, with accession vindicated as equivalent to signature followed by ratification. The Additional Protocols of 1977, however, limited participation to States parties to the 1949 Conventions. [Summary by students at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (IHRP)].