The High Contracting Parties undertake, in time of peace as in time
of war, to disseminate the text of the present Convention as widely
as possible in their respective countries, and, in particular, to
include the study thereof in their programmes of military and, if
possible, civil instruction, so that the principles thereof may
become known to the entire population.
Any civilian, military, police or other authorities,
who in time of war assume responsibilities in respect of protected
persons, must possess the text of the Convention and be specially
instructed as to its provisions.
The High Contracting Parties shall communicate to one another through
the Swiss Federal Council and, during hostilities, through the Protecting
Powers, the official translations of the present Convention, as
well as the laws and regulations which they may adopt to ensure
the application thereof.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation
necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing,
or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present
Convention defined in the following Article.
Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation
to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered
to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons,
regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also,
if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own
legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting
Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out
a prima facie case.
Each High Contracting Party shall take measures
necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions
of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined
in the following Article.
In all circumstances, the accused persons shall
benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not
be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those
following of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of
Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949.
Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those
involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons
or property protected by the present Convention: wilful killing,
torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments,
wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health,
unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected
person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of
a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the
rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention,
taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of
property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully
No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or
any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself
or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred
to in the preceding Article.
At the request of a Party to the conflict, an enquiry shall be instituted,
in a manner to be decided between the interested Parties, concerning
any alleged violation of the Convention.
If agreement has not been reached concerning the
procedure for the enquiry, the Parties should agree on the choice
of an umpire who will decide upon the procedure to be followed.
Once the violation has been established, the Parties
to the conflict shall put an end to it and shall repress it with
the least possible delay.
The present Convention is established in English and in French.
Both texts are equally authentic.
The Swiss Federal Council shall arrange for official
translations of the Convention to be made in the Russian and Spanish
The present Convention, which bears the date of this day, is open
to signature until 12 February 1950, in the name of the Powers represented
at the Conference which opened at Geneva on 21 April 1949.
The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as possible and
the ratifications shall be deposited at Berne.
A record shall be drawn up of the deposit of each
instrument of ratification and certified copies of this record shall
be transmitted by the Swiss Federal Council to all the Powers in
whose name the Convention has been signed, or whose accession has
The present Convention shall come into force six months after not
less than two instruments of ratification have been deposited.
Thereafter, it shall come into force for each High
Contracting Party six months after the deposit of the instrument
In the relations between the Powers who are bound by the Hague Conventions
respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, whether that of
29 July 1899, or that of 18 October 1907, and who are parties to
the present Convention, this last Convention shall be supplementary
to Sections II and III of the Regulations annexed to the above-mentioned
Conventions of The Hague.
From the date of its coming into force, it shall be open to any
Power in whose name the present Convention has not been signed,
to accede to this Convention.
Accessions shall be notified in writing to the Swiss Federal Council,
and shall take effect six months after the date on which they are
The Swiss Federal Council shall communicate the
accessions to all the Powers in whose name the Convention has been
signed, or whose accession has been notified.
The situations provided for in Articles 2 and 3 shall effective
immediate effect to ratifications deposited and accessions notified
by the Parties to the conflict before or after the beginning of
hostilities or occupation. The Swiss Federal Council shall communicate
by the quickest method any ratifications or accessions received
from Parties to the conflict.