Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)

Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)

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The Hague Conventions were two international treaties
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 negotiated at international peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

 conferences at The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907. Along with the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

, the Hague Conventions were among the first formal statements of the laws of war
Laws of war
The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

 and war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s in the nascent body of secular international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

. A third conference was planned for 1914 and later rescheduled for 1915, but never took place due to the start of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The German international law scholar and neo-Kantian
Neo-Kantianism
Neo-Kantianism refers broadly to a revived type of philosophy along the lines of that laid down by Immanuel Kant in the 18th century, or more specifically by Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy in his work The World as Will and Representation , as well as by other post-Kantian...

 pacifist
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 Walther Schücking
Walther Schücking
Walther Adrian Schücking was a German liberal politician, professor of public international law and the first German judge at the Permanent Court of International Justice in The Hague....

 called the assemblies the "international union of Hague conferences". and saw them as a nucleus of an international federation that was to meet at regular intervals to administer justice and develop international law procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes, asserting "that a definite political union of the states of the world has been created with the First and Second Conferences." The various agencies created by the Conferences, like the Permanent Court of Arbitration
Permanent Court of Arbitration
The Permanent Court of Arbitration , is an international organization based in The Hague in the Netherlands.-History:The court was established in 1899 as one of the acts of the first Hague Peace Conference, which makes it the oldest institution for international dispute resolution.The creation of...

, "are agents or organs of the union."

A major effort in both the conferences was to create a binding international court for compulsory arbitration to settle international disputes, which was considered necessary to replace the institution of war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

. This effort, however, failed to realize success either in 1899 or in 1907. The First Conference was generally a success and was focused on disarmament
Disarmament
Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry. Disarmament is often taken to mean total elimination of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear arms...

 efforts. The Second Conference failed to create a binding international court for compulsory arbitration but did enlarge the machinery for voluntary arbitration, and established conventions regulating the collection of debts, rules of war, and the rights and obligations of neutrals. Along with disarmament and obligatory arbitration, both conferences included negotiations concerning the laws of war
Laws of war
The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

 and war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s. Many of the rules laid down at the Hague Conventions were violated in the First World War.

Most of the great power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

s, including the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, Russia, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, China
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, and Persia, favored a binding international arbitration, but the condition was that the vote should be unanimous, and a few countries, led by Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, vetoed the idea.

Hague Convention of 1899


The peace conference was proposed on August 29, 1898 by Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Nicholas II. Nicholas and Count Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov
Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov
Count Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov was a Russian statesman who advocated transferring the attention of Russian foreign policy from Europe to the Far East...

, his foreign minister
Foreign minister
A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...

, were instrumental in initiating the conference. It was held from May 18, 1899 and signed on July 29 of that year, and entered into force on September 4, 1900. The Hague Convention of 1899 consisted of four main sections and three additional declarations (the final main section is for some reason identical to the first additional declaration):
  • I: Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
  • II: Laws and Customs of War on Land
  • III: Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of Principles of Geneva Convention of 1864
  • IV: Prohibiting Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons
  • Declaration I: On the Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons
  • Declaration II: On the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases
  • Declaration III: On the Use of Bullets Which Expand or Flatten Easily in the Human Body


The main effect of the Convention was to ban the use of certain types of modern technology in war: bombing from the air, chemical warfare
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

, and hollow point bullet
Hollow point bullet
A hollow point is an expanding bullet that has a pit or hollowed out shape in its tip, generally intended to cause the bullet to thin upon entering a target in order to decrease penetration and disrupt more tissue as it travels through the target. It is also used for controlled penetration, where...

s. The Convention also set up the Permanent Court of Arbitration
Permanent Court of Arbitration
The Permanent Court of Arbitration , is an international organization based in The Hague in the Netherlands.-History:The court was established in 1899 as one of the acts of the first Hague Peace Conference, which makes it the oldest institution for international dispute resolution.The creation of...

.

Hague Convention of 1907


The second conference, in 1907, was generally a failure, with few major decisions. However, the meeting of major powers did prefigure later 20th-century attempts at international cooperation.

The second conference was called at the suggestion of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904, but postponed because of the war between Russia and Japan. The Second Peace Conference was held from June 15 to October 18, 1907, to expand upon the original Hague Convention, modifying some parts and adding others, with an increased focus on naval warfare. The British tried to secure limitation of armaments, but were defeated by the other powers, led by Germany, which feared a British attempt to stop the growth of the German fleet. Germany also rejected proposals for compulsory arbitration. However, the conference did enlarge the machinery for voluntary arbitration, and established conventions regulating the collection of debts, rules of war, and the rights and obligations of neutrals.

The Final Agreement was signed on October 18, 1907, and entered into force on January 26, 1910. It consisted of thirteen sections, of which twelve were ratified and entered into force:
  • I: The Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
  • II: The Limitation of Employment of Force for Recovery of Contract Debts
  • III: The Opening of Hostilities
  • IV: The Laws and Customs of War on Land
  • V: The Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land
  • VI: The Status of Enemy Merchant Ships at the Outbreak of Hostilities
  • VII: The Conversion of Merchant Ships into War-Ships
  • VIII: The Laying of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines
  • IX: Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War
  • X: Adaptation to Maritime War of the Principles of the Geneva Convention
  • XI: Certain Restrictions with Regard to the Exercise of the Right of Capture in Naval War
  • XII: The Creation of an International Prize Court [Not Ratified]
  • XIII: The Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War


Two declarations were signed as well:
  • Declaration I: extending Declaration II from the 1899 Conference to other types of aircraft
  • Declaration II: on the obligatory arbitration


The Brazilian delegation was led by the statesman Ruy Barbosa
Ruy Barbosa
Ruy Barbosa de Oliveira was a Brazilian writer, jurist, and politician.Born in Salvador da Bahia, he was a federal representative, senator, Minister of Finance and diplomat. For his distinguished participation in the Hague Peace Conference of 1907, he earned the nickname "Eagle of the Hague"...

, whose contribution was essential for the defense of the principle of legal equality of nations. The British delegation included the 11th Lord Reay (Donald James Mackay), Sir Ernest Satow and Eyre Crowe
Eyre Crowe
Sir Eyre Alexander Barby Wichart Crowe GCB GCMG was a British diplomat. Crowe was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1907, Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1911, Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1917, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St...

. The Russian delegation was led by Fyodor Martens.The Uruguayan delegation was led by José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Pablo Torcuato Batlle y Ordóñez was the president of Uruguay in 1899 and from 1903 until 1907 and for a further term from 1911 to 1915. He was the son of former president, Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco were actively engaged in politics...

, great defender of the compulsory arbitration by creating the idea of an International Court of Arbitration, and an alliance of nations to force the arbitration.

Geneva Protocol to Hague Convention


Though not negotiated in The Hague, the Geneva Protocol
Geneva Protocol
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, usually called the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons. It was signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925 and entered...

 to the Hague Convention is considered an addition to the Convention. Signed on June 17, 1925 and entering into force on February 8, 1928, it permanently bans the use of all forms of chemical and biological warfare
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...

 in its single section, entitled Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. The protocol grew out of the increasing public outcry against chemical warfare following the use of mustard gas and similar agents in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and fears that chemical and biological warfare could lead to horrific consequences in any future war. The protocol has since been augmented by the Biological Weapons Convention
Biological Weapons Convention
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the...

 (1972) and the Chemical Weapons Convention
Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction...

 (1993).

See also


  • American Peace Society
    American Peace Society
    The American Peace Society is a pacifist group founded upon the initiative of William Ladd, in New York City, May 8, 1828. It was formed by the merging of many state and local societies, from New York, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, of which the oldest, the New York Peace Society, dated...

  • Antimilitarism
    Antimilitarism
    Antimilitarism is a doctrine commonly found in the anarchist and, more globally, in the socialist movement, which may both be characterized as internationalist movements. It relies heavily on a critical theory of nationalism and imperialism, and was an explicit goal of the First and Second...

  • Command responsibility
    Command responsibility
    Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, and also known as superior responsibility, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes....

  • Hague Secret Emissary Affair
    Hague Secret Emissary Affair
    Hague Secret Emissary Affair resulted from Korean Emperor Gojong sending confidential emissaries to the Second Peace Conference at The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1907.-Background:...

  • Martens Clause
    Martens Clause
    The Martens Clause was introduced into the preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention II – Laws and Customs of War on Land.The clause took its name from a declaration read by Fyodor Fyodorovich Martens, the Russian delegate at the Hague Peace Conferences 1899 and was based upon his words:The...

  • Militarism
    Militarism
    Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

  • Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project
  • St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 (Declaration Renouncing the Use, in Time of War, of Explosive Projectiles Under 400 Grammes Weight)
  • World Federation

Further reading

  • Barcroft, Stephen. "The Hague Peace Conference of 1899". Irish Studies in International Affairs 1989, Vol. 3 Issue 1, pp 55–68.
  • Bettez, David J. "Unfulfilled Initiative: Disarmament Negotiations and the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907". RUSI Journal: Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, June 1988, Vol. 133 Issue 3, pp 57–62.
  • Scott, James Brown, ed. The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, Vol. 1, The Conferences. (The Johns Hopkins Press 1909).
  • Trueblood, Benjamin Franklin. The Two Hague Conferences and Their Results (1914).