(II) with Respect to the
Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex
while seeking means
to preserve peace and prevent armed conflicts among nations, it is
likewise necessary to have regard to cases where an appeal to arms
may be caused by events which their solicitude could not
by the desire to serve,
even in this extreme hypothesis, the interests of humanity and the
ever increasing requirements of civilization;
it important, with this object, to revise the laws and general
customs of war, either with the view of defining them more precisely
or of laying down certain limits for the purpose of modifying their
severity as far as possible;
these views which are enjoined at the present day, as they were
twenty-five years ago at the time of the Brussels Conference in 1874,
by a wise and generous foresight;
in this spirit, adopted a great number of provisions, the object of
which is to define and govern the usages of war on land.
view of the High Contracting Parties, these provisions, the wording
of which has been inspired by the desire to diminish the evils of war
so far as military necessities permit, are destined to serve as
general rules of conduct for belligerents in their relations with
each other and with populations.
not, however, been possible to agree forthwith on provisions
embracing all the circumstances which occur in practice.
the other hand, it could not be intended by the High Contracting
Parties that the cases not provided for should, for want of a written
provision, be left to the arbitrary judgment of the military
more complete code
of the laws of war is issued, the High Contracting Parties think it
right to declare that in cases not included in the Regulations
adopted by them, populations and belligerents remain under the
protection and empire of the principles of international law, as they
result from the usages established between civilized nations, from
the laws of humanity, and the requirements of the public
declare that it is in
this sense especially that Articles 1 and 2 of the Regulations
adopted must be understood;
Contracting Parties, desiring to conclude a Convention to this
effect, have appointed as their
follow the names of
communication of their full powers, found in good and due form, have
agreed on the following:
1. The High Contracting Parties shall issue instructions to their
armed land forces, which shall be in conformity with the "Regulations
respecting the laws and customs of war on land" annexed to the
provisions contained in the Regulations mentioned in Article I are
only binding on the Contracting Powers, in case of war between two or
more of them.
cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between Contracting
Powers, a non-Contracting Power joins one of the belligerents.
The present Convention
shall be ratified as speedily as possible.
ratifications shall be deposited at The Hague.
' procès-verbal ' shall be drawn up recording the receipt of
each ratification, and a copy, duly certified, shall be sent through
the diplomatic channel, to all the Contracting Powers.
4. Non-Signatory Powers are allowed to adhere to the present
purpose they must
make their adhesion known to the Contracting Powers by means of a
written notification, addressed to the Netherlands Government, and by
it communicated to all the other Contracting Powers.
5. In the event of one of the High Contracting Parties denouncing the
present Convention, such denunciation would not take effect until a
year after the written notification made to the Netherlands
Government, and by it at once communicated to all the other
shall affect only the notifying Power.
faith of which the Plenipotentiaries have signed the present
Convention and affixed their seals thereto.
at The Hague 29 July 1899, in a single copy, which shall be kept in
the archives of the Netherlands Government, and copies of which, duly
certified, shall be delivered to the Contracting Powers through the
THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND
1. The laws,
rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to
militia and volunteer
the following conditions:
1. To be
commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
To carry arms openly; and
their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or
form part of it, they are included under the denomination "army."
The population of a
territory which has not been occupied who, on the enemy's approach,
spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops without
having time to organize themselves in accordance with Article 1,
shall be regarded as belligerent, if they respect the laws and
customs of war.
armed forces of the belligerent parties may consist of combatants and
non-combatants. In case of capture by the enemy both have a right to
be treated as prisoners of war.
prisoners of war
4. Prisoners of war are in the power of the hostile Government, but
not in that of the individuals or corps who captured them.
must be humanely treated.
personal belongings, except arms, horses, and military papers remain
Prisoners of war may be interned in a town, fortress, camp, or any
other locality, and bound not to go beyond certain fixed limits; but
they can only be confined as an indispensable measure of safety.
The State may utilize
the labour of prisoners of war according to their rank and aptitude.
Their tasks shall not be excessive, and shall have nothing to do with
the military operations.
be authorized to work for the public service, for private persons, or
on their own account.
State shall be paid for according to the tariffs in force for
soldiers of the national army employed on similar tasks.
the work is for other branches of the public service or for private
persons, the conditions shall be settled in agreement with the
prisoners shall go towards improving their position, and the balance
shall be paid them at the time of their release, after deducting the
cost of their maintenance.
7. The Government into whose hands prisoners of war have fallen is
bound to maintain them.
special agreement between the belligerents, prisoners of war shall be
treated as regards food, quarters, and clothing, on the same footing
as the troops of the Government which has captured them.
8. Prisoners of war shall be subject to the laws, regulations, and
orders in force in the army of the State into whose hands they have
fallen. Any act of insubordination warrants the adoption, as regards
them, of such measures of severity as may be necessary.
prisoners, recaptured before they have succeeded in rejoining their
army, or before quitting the territory occupied by the army that
captured them, are liable to disciplinary punishment.
who, after succeeding in escaping are again taken prisoners, are not
liable to any punishment for the previous flight.
9. Every prisoner of war, if questioned, is bound to declare his true
name and rank, and if he disregards this rule, he is liable to a
curtailment of the advantages accorded to the prisoners of war of his
war may be set at liberty on parole if the laws of their country
authorize it, and, in such a case, they are bound, on their personal
honour, scrupulously to fulfil, both as regards their own Government
and the Government by whom they were made prisoners, the engagements
they have contracted.
their own Government shall not require of nor accept from them any
service incompatible with the parole given.
11. A prisoner of war cannot be forced to accept his liberty on
parole; similarly the hostile Government is not obliged to assent to
the prisoner,s request to be set at liberty on parole.
12. Any prisoner of war, who is liberated on parole and recaptured,
bearing arms against the Government to whom he had pledged his
honour, or against the allies of that Government, forfeits his right
to be treated as a prisoner of war, and can be brought before the
who follow an army without directly belonging to it, such as
newspaper correspondents and reporters, sutlers, contractors, who
fall into the enemy's hands, and whom the latter think fit to detain,
have a right to be treated as prisoners of war, provided they can
produce a certificate from the military authorities of the army they
bureau for information relative to prisoners of war is instituted, on
the commencement of hostilities, in each of the belligerent States,
and, when necessary, in the neutral countries on whose territory
belligerents have been received. This bureau is intended to answer
all inquiries about prisoners of war, and is furnished by the various
services concerned with all the necessary information to enable it to
keep an individual return for each prisoner of war. It is kept
informed of internments and changes, as well as of admissions into
hospital and deaths.
duty of the information bureau to receive and collect all objects of
personal use, valuables, letters, etc., found on the battlefields or
left by prisoners who have died in hospital or ambulance, and to
transmit them to those interested.
15. Relief societies for prisoners of war, which are regularly
constituted in accordance with the law of the country with the object
of serving as the intermediary for charity, shall receive from the
belligerents for themselves and their duly accredited agents every
facility, within the bounds of military requirements and
administrative regulations, for the effective accomplishment of their
humane task. Delegates of these societies may be admitted to the
places of internment for the distribution of relief, as also to the
halting places of repatriated prisoners, if furnished with a personal
permit by the military authorities, and on giving an engagement in
writing to comply with all their regulations for order and police.
The information bureau
shall have the privilege of free postage. Letters, money orders, and
valuables, as well as postal parcels destined for the prisoners of
war or dispatched by them, shall be free of all postal duties both in
the countries of origin and destination, as well as in those they
relief in kind
for prisoners of war shall be admitted free of all duties of entry
and others, as well as of payments for carriage by the Government
taken prisoners may receive, if necessary, the full pay allowed them
in this position by their country's regulations, the amount to be
repaid by their Government.
18. Prisoners of war shall enjoy every latitude in the exercise of
their religion, including attendance at their own church services,
provided only they comply with the regulations for order and police
issued by the military authorities.
19. The wills of prisoners of war are received or drawn up on the
same conditions as for soldiers of the national army.
same rules shall be observed regarding death certificates, as well as
for the burial of prisoners of war, due regard being paid to their
grade and rank.
the conclusion of peace, the repatriation of prisoners of war shall
take place as speedily as possible.
sick and wounded
21. The obligations of belligerents with regard to the sick and
wounded are governed by the Geneva Convention of 22 August 1864,
subject to any modifications which may be introduced into it.
means of injuring the enemy, sieges, and bombardments
22. The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is
the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially
employ poison or
kill or wound
treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or
kill or wound an enemy who,
having laid down arms, or having no longer means of defence, has
surrendered at discretion;
declare that no quarter will be given;
To employ arms, projectiles, or material of a nature to cause
use of a flag of truce, the national flag or military ensigns and
uniform of the enemy, as well as the distinctive badges of the Geneva
destroy or seize the
enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively
demanded by the necessities of war.
24. Ruses of war and the employment of methods necessary to obtain
information about the enemy and the country, are considered
or bombardment of towns, villages, habitations or buildings which are
not defended, is prohibited.
26. The commander of an attacking force, before commencing a
bombardment, except in the case of an assault, should do all he can
to warn the authorities.
27. In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps should be taken to
spare as far as possible edifices devoted to religion, art, science,
and charity, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are
collected, provided they are not used at the same time for military
besieged should indicate
these buildings or places by some particular and visible signs, which
should previously be notified to the assailants.
28. The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault is
An individual can
only be considered a spy if, acting clandestinely, or on false
pretences, he obtains, or seeks to obtain information in the zone of
operations of a belligerent, with the intention of communicating it
to the hostile party.
in disguise who have penetrated into the zone of operations of a
hostile army to obtain information are not considered spies.
considered spies: soldiers or civilians, carrying out their mission
openly, charged with the delivery of despatches destined either for
their own army or for that of the enemy. To this class belong
likewise individuals sent in balloons to deliver despatches, and
generally to maintain communication between the various parts of an
army or a territory.
spy taken in the act cannot be punished without previous trial.
A spy who, after
rejoining the army to which he belongs, is subsequently captured by
the enemy, is treated as a prisoner of war, and incurs no
responsibility for his previous acts of espionage.
32. An individual is considered as a parlementaire who is authorized
by one of the belligerents to enter into communication with the
other, and who carries a white flag. He has a right to inviolability,
as well as the trumpeter, bugler, or drummer, the flag-bearer and the
interpreter who may accompany him.
33. The chief to whom a parlementaire is sent is not obliged to
receive him in all circumstances.
take all steps necessary to prevent the parlementaire taking
advantage of his mission to obtain information.
case of abuse, he has the right to detain the parlementaire
parlementaire loses his rights of inviolability if it is proved
beyond doubt that he has taken advantage of his privileged position
to provoke or commit an act of treason.
35. Capitulations agreed on between the Contracting Parties must be
in accordance with the rules of military honour.
once settled, they must be scrupulously observed by both the parties.
suspends military operations by mutual agreement between the
belligerent parties. If its duration is not fixed, the belligerent
parties can resume operations at any time, provided always the enemy
is warned within the time agreed upon, in accordance with the terms
of the armistice.
armistice may be general or local. The first suspends all military
operations of the belligerent States; the second, only those between
certain fractions of the belligerent armies and in a fixed radius.
An armistice must be
notified officially, and in good time, to the competent authorities
and the troops. Hostilities are suspended immediately after the
notification, or at a fixed date.
39. It is for the Contracting Parties to settle, in the terms of the
armistice, what communications may be held, on the theatre of war,
with the population and with each other.
40. Any serious violation of the armistice by one of the parties
gives the other party the right to denounce it, and even, in case of
urgency, to recommence hostilities at once.
41. A violation of the terms of the armistice by private individuals
acting on their own initiative, only confers the right of demanding
the punishment of the offenders, and, if necessary, indemnity for the
military authority over hostile
considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of
the hostile army.
only to the territory where such authority is established, and in a
position to assert itself.
43. The authority of the legitimate power having actually passed into
the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all steps in his
power to re-establish and insure, as far as possible, public order
and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws
in force in the country.
44. Any compulsion of the population of occupied territory to take
part in military operations against its own country is prohibited.
Any pressure on the
population of occupied territory to take the oath to the hostile
Power is prohibited.
Family honours and rights, individual lives and private property, as
well as religious convictions and liberty, must be respected.
property cannot be confiscated.
47. Pillage is formally prohibited.
48. If, in the territory occupied, the occupant collects the taxes,
dues, and tolls imposed for the benefit of the State, he shall do it,
as far as possible, in accordance with the rules in existence and the
assessment in force, and will in consequence be bound to defray the
expenses of the administration of the occupied territory on the same
scale as that by which the legitimate Government was bound.
49. If, besides the taxes mentioned in the preceding Article, the
occupant levies other money taxes in the occupied territory, this can
only be for military necessities or the administration of such
penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, can be inflicted on the population
on account of the acts of individuals for which it cannot be regarded
as collectively responsible.
51. No tax shall be collected except under a written order and on the
responsibility of a commander-in-chief.
collection shall only take place, as far as possible, in accordance
with the rules in existence and the assessment of taxes in force.
every payment a receipt shall be given to the taxpayer.
52. Neither requisitions in kind nor services can be demanded from
communes or inhabitants except for the necessities of the army of
occupation. They must be in proportion to the resources of the
country, and of such a nature as not to involve the population in the
obligation of taking part in military operations against their
requisitions and services
shall only be demanded on the authority of the commander in the
kind shall, as far as possible, be paid for in ready money; if not,
their receipt shall be acknowledged.
53. An army of occupation can only take possession of the cash,
funds, and property liable to requisition belonging strictly to the
State, depots arms, means of transport, stores and supplies, and,
generally movable property of the State which may be used for
telegraphs, telephones, steamers and other ships, apart from cases
governed by maritime law, as well as depots of arms and, generally,
all kinds of munitions of war, even though belonging to companies or
to private persons, are likewise material which may serve for
military operations, but they must be restored at the conclusion of
peace, and indemnities paid for them.
54. The plant of railways coming from neutral States, whether the
property of those States, or of companies, or of private persons,
shall be sent back to them as soon as possible.
55. The occupying State shall only be regarded as administrator and
usufructuary of the public buildings, real property, forests and
agricultural works belonging to the hostile State, and situated in
the occupied country. It must protect the capital of these
properties, and administer it according to the rules of usufruct.
The property of the
communes, that of religious, charitable, and educational
institutions, and those of arts and science, even when State
property, shall be treated as private property.
seizure of and destruction, or intentional damage done to such
institutions, to historical monuments, works of art or science, is
prohibited, and should be made the subject of proceedings.
INTERNMENT OF BELLIGERENTS AND
THE CARE OF THE WOUNDED IN NEUTRAL COUNTRIES
57. A neutral State which receives in its territory troops belonging
to the belligerent armies shall intern them, as far as possible, at a
distance from the theatre of war.
keep them in camps, and even confine them in fortresses or locations
assigned for this purpose.
decide whether officers may be left at liberty on giving their parole
that they will not leave the neutral territory without authorization.
Failing a special
convention, the neutral State shall supply the interned with the
food, clothing, and relief required by humanity.
the conclusion of peace, the expenses caused by the internment shall
be made good.
neutral State may authorize the passage over its territory of wounded
or sick belonging to the belligerent armies, on condition that the
trains bringing them shall carry neither combatants nor war material.
In such a case, the neutral State is bound to adopt such measures of
safety and control as may be necessary for the purpose.
and sick brought under these conditions into neutral territory by one
of the belligerents, and belonging to the hostile party, must be
guarded by the neutral State, so as to insure their not taking part
again in the military operations. The same duty shall devolve on the
neutral State with regard to wounded or sick of the other army who
may be committed to its care.
60. The Geneva Convention applies to sick and wounded interned in
Declaration on the Use of Bullets Which Expand or
Flatten Easily in the Human Body;
July 29, 1899
The Undersigned, Plenipotentiaries of the Powers
represented at the
International Peace Conference at The Hague, duly authorized to that
effect by their Governments,
Inspired by the sentiments which found expression
in the Declaration of St. Petersburg of the 29th November (11th
Declare as follows:
The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the
use of bullets
which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with
a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced
The present Declaration is only binding for the
Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them.
It shall cease to be binding from the time when,
in a war between
the Contracting Parties, one of the belligerents is joined by a
The present Declaration shall be ratified as soon
The ratification shall be deposited at The Hague.
A proces-verbal shall be drawn up on the receipt
ratification, a copy of which, duly certified, shall be sent through
the diplomatic channel to all the Contracting Powers.
The non-Signatory Powers may adhere to the present
this purpose they must make their adhesion known to the Contracting
Powers by means of a written notification addressed to the Netherlands
Government, and by it communicated to all the other Contracting Powers.
In the event of one of the High Contracting
Parties denouncing the
present Declaration, such denunciation shall not take effect until a
year after the notification made in writing to the Netherlands
Government, and forthwith communicated by it to all the other
This denunciation shall only affect the notifying
In faith of which the Plenipotentiaries have
signed the present Declaration, and have affixed their seals thereto.
Done at The Hague the 29th July, 1899, in a single
copy, which shall
be kept in the archives of the Netherlands Government, and of which
copies, duly certified, shall be sent through the diplomatic channel to
the Contracting Powers.
proposition of the Imperial Cabinet of Russia, an International
Commission having assembled at St. Petersburg in order to examine the
expediency of forbidding the use of certain projectiles in time of war
civilized nations, and that Commission having by common agreement fixed
technical limits at which the necessities of war ought to yield to the
requirements of humanity, the Undersigned are authorized by the orders
Governments to declare as follows:
RENOUNCING THE USE, IN TIME OF WAR, OF
(Saint Petersburg, 29.11.1868 / 11.12.1868)
progress of civilization should have the effect of alleviating as much
possible the calamities of war;
That the only legitimate object which
States should endeavour to accomplish during war is to weaken the
forces of the enemy;
That for this purpose it is sufficient to disable
the greatest possible number of men;
That this object would be exceeded
by the employment of arms which uselessly aggravate the sufferings of
men, or render their death inevitable;
That the employment of such arms
would, therefore, be contrary to the laws of humanity;
Parties engage mutually to renounce, in case of war among themselves,
employment by their military or naval troops of any projectile of a
below 400 grammes, which is either explosive or charged with
They will invite all the States which have not
taken part in the deliberations of the International Military
assembled at St. Petersburg by sending Delegates thereto, to accede to
This engagement is compulsory only upon the
Contracting or Acceding Parties thereto in case of war between two or
themselves; it is not applicable to non-Contracting Parties, or Parties
shall not have acceded to it.
It will also cease to be compulsory from
the moment when, in a war between Contracting or Acceding Parties, a
non-Contracting Party or a non-Acceding Party shall join one of the
The Contracting or Acceding Parties reserve to themselves
to come hereafter to an understanding whenever a precise proposition
drawn up in view of future improvements which science may effect in the
armament of troops, in order to maintain the principles which they have
established, and to conciliate the necessities of war with the laws of
Done at St. Petersburg, 29 November (11 December) 1868.
A.Kolmykov. Revising Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal / International
Journal of Russian Studies, Wilmington, DE 19803 U.S.A., ISSN:
2158-7051, ISSUE NO. 5 ( 2012/2 ) URL: http://www.ijors.net/issue5_2_2012/notes/nikolaevich.html