Manual of Military Law 1929, Amendments (No. 12)

4 THE LAW SAND USAGES OF WAR LAND.ON Ch. XIV Agreements recognised to be incomplete. Which States are bound by the inter­national agreements. Warfare with uncivilized. peoples. (viii) The Geneva Convention 1929 "For the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field."1 (Hereinafter referred to as the Red Cross Convention. App. 23.) (ix) The Geneva Convention 1929 "Relative to the Treat­ment of Prisoners of War.” 2 (Hereinafter referred to as the Prisoners of War Convention. App. 24.).5. The above-mentioned Convention “Concerning the Laws and Customs of War Land”on does not pretend to provide a complete code and cases beyond its scope therefore still remain the subject of customary rules and of usage.8 0. The Conventions and Declarations above mentioned ere, strictly speaking only binding on the Powers which have agreed to them and have not subsequently denounced them and then only in a war in which all the belligerent states engaged are parties to them. .Similarly if one Power had not agreed to a particular article of these Conventions that article would not be binding on the other belligerents although they might have contracted to acccept it.4 In the absence of agreements nations are bound however by the usages which preceded formal conventions and which as was shown in 1870-1 amount to the same thing. The Red Cross and Prisoners of War Conventions of 1929 stipulate that the high contracting parties shall respect the pro­visions of these Conventions in all circumstances. If in time of war a belligerent is not a party to the Conventions their pro­visions shall nevertheless be binding as between all the belli­gerents who are parties thereto.8 7. It must be emphasised that the rules of International Law apply only to warfare between civilized nations where both parties understand them and are prepared to carry them out. They do not apply in wars with uncivilized states and tribes where their place is taken by the discretion of the commander and such rules 1 The Geneva Conventions of 1864 and 1906 “for the amelioration of the condition of the sick and wounded in armies in the field ”are still bindingon the parties to those Conventions who have not ratified or acccded to the Convention of 1929. This Convention is complementary to Chapter 2 of the Annex to the Hague Convention, 1907 (see art. 89 of the Convention). In fact however it covers the whole ground of Chapter 2, except arts. 10 to 12 which deal with prisoners on parole and so with that exception virtually supersedes Chapter 2 as far as the sign a ories to the Convention are concerned. See preamble to the Convention in App. 6. ‘Paragraphs to this effect are to be found in each Convention and DeclaraUon (except as regards art. 2 of “The Convention relative to the Opening of Hostilities” see art. 3, para. 2 of the Convention in App.S). See also footnote below. The Conventions above mentioned and all the Declarations except that 1 1 Prohibiting the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives ”from Ballcons have been generally accepted by the Powers but in some cases with reserve of certain articles. For signatories &c seethe list after each Convention and Declaration in App. 1-9. The experiences of the Great War 1914-1918 subjected the Hague Rules to a severe test. On the wnole considering the magnitude of the struggle and the new engines of warfare which were employed the Rules did notwork badly and their absence would have been disastrous. At some future time they will require to be re-considered at an international conference and brought more up to date. Further provision is specially required for dealing with the treatment of resident enemy subjects the means of carrying on war the bombardment of undefended places the question of military reprisals the punishment of war crimes and the occupation of enemy territory. '“Red Cross Convention art. 25 and Prisoners of War Convention art. 82.”
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