The undersigned Plenipotentiaries
of the Governments represented at the Diplomatic Conference held
at Geneva from April 21 to August 12, 1949, for the purpose of establishing
a Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War,
have agreed as follows:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure
respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.
In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace-time,
the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war
or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more
of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not
recognized by one of them.
The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total
occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if
the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the
present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain
bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be
bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter
accepts and applies the provisions thereof.
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character
occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties,
each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum,
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including
members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those
placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other
cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any
adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith,
sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain
prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect
to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds,
mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions
without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted
court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized
as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee
of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into
force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other
provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the
legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a
given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case
of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict
or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not
protected by it. Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves
in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent
State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State
of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation
in the State in whose hands they are.
The provisions of Part II are, however, wider in application, as
defined in Article 13.
Persons protected by the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration
of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the
Field of 12 August 1949, or by the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration
of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed
Forces at Sea of 12 August 1949, or by the Geneva Convention relative
to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949, shall not
be considered as protected persons within the meaning of the present
Where in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is
satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected
of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State,
such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights
and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised
in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security
of such State.
Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained
as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of
activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person
shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires,
be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the
In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity
and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair
and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall
also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person
under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with
the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be.