Protocol I

Protocol I

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Protocol I is a 1977 amendment protocol
Protocol (diplomacy)
In international politics, protocol is the etiquette of diplomacy and affairs of state.A protocol is a rule which guides how an activity should be performed, especially in the field of diplomacy. In diplomatic services and governmental fields of endeavor protocols are often unwritten guidelines...

 to 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...

 relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts. It reaffirms the international laws of the original Geneva Conventions of 1949, but adds clarifications and new provisions to accommodate developments in modern international warfare that have taken place since the Second World War.

As of 11 May 2011, it had been ratified by 170 countries, with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 being notable exceptions. However, the United States, Iran, and Pakistan signed it on 12 December 1977 with the intention of ratifying it. According to an appeal by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1997, a number of the articles contained in both protocols are recognized as rules of customary international law
Customary international law
Customary international law are those aspects of international law that derive from custom. Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of...

 valid for all states, whether or not they have ratified them.

Summary of Provisions


Protocol I is an extensive document, containing 102 articles. Following is a basic overview of the protocol. For a comprehensive listing of all provisions, consult the original text and the commentary.
In general, the protocol reaffirms the provisions of the original four 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...

. However, the following additional protections are added.
  • Articles 51 and 54 outlaw indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations, and destruction of food, water, and other materials needed for survival. Indiscriminate attacks include directly attacking civilian (non-military) targets, but also using technology such as biological weapons, nuclear weapons and land mines, whose scope of destruction cannot be limited. A total war
    Total war
    Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

     that does not distinguish between civilian and military targets is considered a war crime
    War crime
    War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

    .
  • Articles 56 and 53 outlaw attacks on dams, dikes, nuclear generating stations, and places of worship. The first three are "works and installations containing dangerous forces" and may be attacked but only in ways that do not threaten to release the dangerous forces (ie, it is permissible to attempt to capture them but not to try to destroy them).
  • Articles 76 and 77, 15 and 79 provide special protections for women, children, and civilian medical personnel, and provide measures of protection for journalists.
  • Article 77 forbids conscription
    Conscription
    Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

     of children under age 15 into the armed forces. It does allow, however, for persons under the age of 15 to participate voluntarily.
  • Articles 43 and 44 clarify the military status of members of guerrilla forces. Combatant and prisoner of war status is granted to members of dissident forces when under the command of a central authority. Such combatants cannot conceal their allegiance; they must be recognizable as combatants while preparing for or during an attack.
  • Article 35 bans weapons that "cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering," as well as means of warfare that "cause widespread, long-term, and severe damage to the natural environment."
  • Article 85 states that it is a war crime to use one of the protective emblems
    Protocol III
    Protocol III is a 2005 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. This protective sign may be displayed by medical and religious personnel at times of war, instead of the traditional Red Cross or Red Crescent symbols...

     recognized by the Geneva Conventions to deceive the opposing forces (perfidy
    Perfidy
    In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception, in which one side promises to act in good faith with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy has exposed himself .The practice is specifically prohibited under the 1977 Protocol I Additional to the...

    ).
  • Articles 17 and 81 authorize the ICRC
    International Committee of the Red Cross
    The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

    , national societies, or other impartial humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to the victims of war.

See also

  • 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....

  • 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...

  • List of parties to the Geneva Conventions
  • First Geneva Convention
    First Geneva Convention
    The First Geneva Convention, for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, is one of four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It defines "the basis on which rest the rules of international law for the protection of the victims of armed conflicts." It was first adopted...

     of 1864, on the treatment of battlefield casualties.
  • Jus in bello
  • Targeted killing
    Targeted killing
    Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...


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