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Geneva Conference of 1863

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The Geneva International Conference of 1863 was the impetus for the development of humanitarian laws of war embodied in the Geneva Conventions of 1864, 1906, 1929, and 1949. The Red Cross was also founded as part of a worldwide movement offering humanitarian aid to war victims.

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On February 9, 1863, the Geneva Society of Public Welfare appointed a committee consisting of General G.H. Dufour as President, Gustave Moynier, Henry Durant, Theodore Maunoir and Louis Appia. The Committee was tasked with recruiting voluntary male nurses to serve the armed forces in the field. The five members (also known as the "Committee of Five") adopted later name called the "International Committee of Red Cross" in 1875.[1]

On October 24, 1863, the International Committee of Red Cross convened in Geneva with 16 states and 4 philanthropic institutions represented. The Conference adopted Henry Durant's proposals and vowed to implement their humanitarian efforts to all wartime victims.[2]


In 1859, Henry Durant, a citizen of Geneva, was an eyewitness to the thousands of wounded people of the Battle of Solferino. This experience led to a reactionary book called "A Memory of Solferino", where he meticulously described the battle scene and proposed creating an international relief society to save the wounded in times of war. Countries forming these relief societies would jointly adopt an international agreement to protect the medical staff and the injured.[3]

International Law

The Geneva Conventions consist of four treaties and three protocols setting the standards for international law with regard to humanitarian needs.[4]

The First Convention convened for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field.[5]

The Second Convention convened for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea.[6]

The Third Convention was regarding the Treatment of Prisoners of War.[7]

The Fourth Convention was relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.[8]

The first protocol in addition to the Conventions related to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts.[9]

The second protocol in addition to the Conventions related to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.[10]


  1. http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/INTRO/115?OpenDocument
  2. http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/INTRO/115?OpenDocument
  3. http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/INTRO/115?OpenDocument
  4. http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/laws.html
  5. http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/laws.html
  6. http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/laws.html
  7. http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/laws.html
  8. http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/laws.html
  9. http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/laws.html
  10. http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/laws.html

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