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Geneva Conventions get universal acceptance

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 11:02 IST
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For the first time in modern history, an international treaty has achieved universal acceptance.

The recent accessions by Nauru and Montenegro to the 1949 Geneva Conventions confirm the status of these conventions as the most widely accepted international treaties and represent a landmark in the development of protection for victims of armed conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross said here.

"At a time when armed conflicts continue to take their toll on human lives and on material means of survival, it is important to reaffirm the contribution of international humanitarian law to the protection of human dignity and the preservation of humanity in the midst of war," said Jean-Philippe Lavoyer, head of the legal division of ICRC in Geneva.

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 constitute the fundamental law protecting victims of armed conflict and governing the conduct of hostilities in wartime.

As the promoter and guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC welcomes the universal acceptance of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and reminds all belligerents of their obligation to abide by the laws of war.

Nauru acceded to the four Geneva Conventions June 27 and Montenegro Aug 2, bringing the number of states party to these instruments to 194.

As both countries also acceded to the 1977 Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions, 166 States are now party to Additional Protocol I and 162 are party to Additional Protocol 11.

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 will enter into force for Nauru December 27, 2006 and for Montenegro February 2, 2007.