World Intellectual Property Organization

Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Albania

Reservations made upon signature and maintained upon ratification:
"Article 11: The People's Republic of Albania will not recognize a request by a Detaining Power to a humanitarian organization or to a neutral State to take the place of a Protecting Power, as being in order, unless the Power of which the protected persons are nationals has given its consent.
Article 45: The People's Republic of Albania considers that in the case of protected persons being transferred to another Power by the Detaining Power, the responsibility for the application of the Convention to such protected persons will continue to rest with the Detaining Power."

Bangladesh

In a communication to the States Parties to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland informed the Governments that the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations in Geneva, in a note dated December 20, 1988, informed the Swiss Government of the decision of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh to use the red crescent instead of the red cross as a distinctive emblem.

China

Reservations made upon ratification:
"Although the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949, does not apply to civilian persons outside enemy-occupied areas and consequently does not completely meet humanitarian requirements, it is found to be in accord with the interest of protecting civilian persons in occupied territory and in certain other cases, hence it is ratified with the following reservations:
Regarding Article 11, the People's Republic of China will not recognize as valid a request by the Detaining Power of protected persons to a neutral State or to a humanitarian organization, to undertake the functions which should be performed by a Protecting Power, unless the consent has been obtained of the government of the State of which the protected persons are nationals.
Regarding Article 45, the People's Republic of China holds that the original Detaining Power which has transferred protected persons to another Contracting Power, is not for that reason freed from its responsibility for the application of the Convention while such protected persons are in the custody of the Power adopting them."

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Reservations made upon accession:
"The Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea considers that the present Convention cannot fully meet humanitarian requirements, inasmuch as it does not apply to the civilian persons outside the territory occupied by the enemy. But, considering that the present Convention has a positive aspect of protecting the interests of civilian persons in the territory of occupation and in a series of other cases, the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea accedes to it with reservations on the following articles:
On Article 11: In the event of a Power detaining protected persons requesting a neutral State, or a humanitarian organization, to undertake the functions incumbent on a Protecting Power, the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will not consider it a legal request unless an approval is obtained from the Government of the State on which the protected persons concerned depend.
On Article 45: The Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea considers that, even during the period in which the Power detaining protected persons have transferred the protected persons to other Powers which are parties to the present Convention to be in their custody, responsibility as an original Detaining Power for the application of the present Convention towards the protected persons concerned will not be released."

Guinea-Bissau

Reservations made upon accession:
"Article 11: The Council of State of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau does not recognize as legal the request addressed by the Detaining Power to a neutral country or a humanitarian organization to undertake the functions performed by a Protecting Power, unless the State on which the aforementioned civilian persons depend has already agreed to that request.
Article 45: The Council of State of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau declares that the transfer of civilian persons protected by this Convention to a Power which is a party to the Convention does not exempt the Detaining Power from carrying out the provisions of the Convention."

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Declaration made on 4 September 1980:
"The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran announced via the aforementioned note that in a bid to prevent multiplicity of Distinctive International Emblems for aid and charity related affairs and in order to contribute to the unification of these Distinctive Emblems, it would not practice its right of using the “Red Lion and Sun” as one of the three official emblems of the International Union of the Red Cross and will rather use the “Red Crescent” emblem for this purpose. The measure was adopted with the understanding that all government would oblige themselves to accepting one of the two Red Cross or Red Crescent emblems and once an open violation of this is observed, the right will remain for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to use its distinctive emblem at national and international levels again."

Israel

Declaration relating to the declaration made upon accession by Democratic Yemen:
"The Government of Israel takes note that by declarations dated 10 February 1977, and received by the Swiss Government on 25 May 1977, the Popular Democratic Republic of Yemen adhered to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 relating to the protection of war victims. The said instruments were accompanied by a declaration of a political character in respect to Israel. In the view of the Government of Israel, this is not the proper place for making such political pronouncements, which are, moreover, in flagrant contradiction to the principles, objects and purposes of the said Conventions. The said declaration cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon the Popular Democratic Republic of Yemen under general international law or under particular treaties."

Declaration relating to the declaration made upon accession by Kuwait:
"The Government of Israel has noted the political character of the statement made by the Government of Kuwait on the occasion of the accession to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 for the protection of war victims. In the opinion of the Government of Israel, that declaration is unacceptable and the Government of Israel expresses its formal objections to this statement and regards its relations with Kuwait, it reserves the right to act on the basis of strict reciprocity with respect to matters that are subject to these Conventions. The Government of Israel requests that the text of this note be circulated to all signatories of the Conventions and all States that have ratified or acceded to."

Kuwait

Declaration made upon accession:
"This Accession (...) does not imply recognition of Israel or entering with it into relations governed by the Conventions thereto acceded."

Pakistan

Reservations made upon ratification:
"Article 44: Every protected person who is a national de jure of an enemy State, against whom action is taken or sought to be taken under Article 41 by assignment of residence or internment, or in accordance with any law, on the ground of his being an enemy alien, shall be entitled to submit proofs to the Detaining Power, or as the case may be, to any appropriate Court or administrative board which may review his case, that he does not enjoy the protection of any enemy State, and full weight shall be given to this circumstance, if it is established whether with or without further enquiry by the Detaining Power, in deciding appropriate action, by way of an initial order or, as the case may be, by amendment thereof.
Article 68, paragraph 2: The Government of Pakistan associate themselves with the reservation made by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and reserves the right to impose the death penalty in accordance with the provisions of Article 68, paragraph 2, without regard to whether the offenses referred to therein are punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory at the time the occupation begins."

Palestine

On 21 June 1989, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs received a letter from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva informing the Swiss Federal Council "that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, entrusted with the functions of the Government of the State of Palestine by decision of the Palestine National Council, decided, on 4 May 1989, to adhere to the Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the two Protocols additional thereto".
On 13 September 1989, the Swiss Federal Council informed the States that it was not in a position to decide whether the letter constituted an instrument of accession, "due to the uncertainty within the international community as to the existence or non-existence of a State of Palestine".

Portugal

Reservation made upon ratification:
"... the Portuguese Government only accepts article 10 of Conventions I, II and III and article 11 of Convention IV with the reservation that requests by the Detaining Power to a neutral State or to a humanitarian organization to undertake the functions normally performed by Protecting Powers are made with the consent or agreement of the Government of the country of which the persons to be protected are nationals (Countries of origin)."

Republic of Korea

Declaration made upon accession:
" (...) the Government of the Republic of Korea do hereby declare that it is the only lawful Government in Korea, as set forth in General Assembly Resolution 195 (III) of 12 December 1948, and its accession shall not be construed as recognizing any Contracting Party thereto which the Republic of Korea has not hitherto recognized"

Russian Federation

Reservations made upon signature and maintained upon ratification:
"Although the present Convention does not cover the civilian population in territory not occupied by the enemy and does not, therefore, completely meet humanitarian requirements, the Soviet Delegation, recognizing that the said Convention makes satisfactory provision for the protection of the civilian population in occupied territory and in certain other cases, declares that it is authorized by the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to sign the present Convention with the following reservations:
Article 11: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will not recognize the validity of requests by the Detaining Power to a neutral State or to a humanitarian organization, to undertake the functions performed by a Protecting Power, unless the consent of the Government of the country of which the protected persons are nationals has been obtained.
Article 45: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will not consider as valid the freeing of a Detaining Power, which has transferred protected persons to another Power, from responsibility for the application of the Convention to the persons transferred, while the latter are in the custody of the Power accepting them."

Suriname

Reservation made upon succession:
"Suriname reserves the right to impose the death penalty in accordance with the provisions of Article 68, paragraph 2, without regard to whether the offenses referred to therein are punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory at the time the occupation begins."

the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Reservation made upon signature and maintained upon ratification:
"In regard to Article 11, The Government of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia will not consider as legal a request by the Detaining Power that a neutral State or an international organization or a humanitarian organization should undertake the functions performed under the present Convention by the Protecting Powers, on behalf of protected persons, unless the Government whose nationals they are has given its consent.
In regard to Article 45, The Government of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia will not consider it legal for a Power, which effects a transfer of protected persons to another Power to be freed from its responsibility for applying the Convention, for the whole of the time during which such protected persons are in the custody of the Power accepting them."

United Kingdom

Objection in relation with the reservations made by the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau:
"In relation with the reservations made by the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam to Articles 12 and 85 of the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War and Article 45 of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and in relation with the reservation to Article 45 of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War made by the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, recalling their declaration on ratification in relation to similar reservations by other States, wish to state that, whilst they do not oppose the entry into force of the two Conventions in question between the United Kingdom and the Republic of South Vietnam and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, they are unable to accept the above-mentioned reservations thereto made by those States because, in the view of the Government of the United Kingdom, these reservations are not of the kind which intending Parties to the Convention are entitled to make.
The Government of the United Kingdom wish also to place on record that they take the same view of the similar reservations made by the Swiss Minister in London on 8 January 1957, and by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, notified by the Swiss Ambassador in London on 24 August 1957..."

United States of America

Declaration relating to the accession of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam:
"(...) The Government of the United States of America recognizes the Government of the Republic of Viet-Nam and does not recognize the 'Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam' as a government. The United States Government therefore does not recognize that the 'Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam' is qualified to accede to the Geneva Conventions. Bearing in mind, however, that it is the purpose of the Geneva Conventions that their provisions should protect war victims in armed conflicts, the Government of the United States of America notes that the 'Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam' has indicated its intention to apply them subject to certain reservations (...) Other reservations are similar to reservations expressed by others previously and concerning which the Government of the United States has previously declared its views. The Government of the United States rejects all the expressed reservations. "The Government of the United States notes that the views expressed in this note should not be understood as implying any withdrawal from the policy heretofore pursued by its armed forces in according the treatment provided by the Conventions to hostile armed forces"

Declaration made upon ratification:
"Rejecting the reservations - other than to Article 68, paragraph 2 - which States have made with respect to the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, the United States accepts treaty relations with all parties to that Convention, except as to the changes proposed by such reservations."

Reservation made upon signature and maintained upon ratification:
"The United States reserve the right to impose the death penalty in accordance with the provisions of Article 68, paragraph 2, without regard to whether the offenses referred to therein are punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory at the time the occupation begins"

Uruguay

Reservation made upon ratification:
"(...) With express reservations in respect of Articles 87, 100 and 101 of Geneva Convention III, and of Article 68 of Geneva Convention IV, in so far as they involve the imposition and execution of the death penalty"

Viet Nam

Reservation made upon accession of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam on December 3, 1973:
"Ad article 11: The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam recognizes as lawful a request by the Detaining Power to a neutral country, or a humanitarian organization, to assume the functions performed by Protecting Powers only when the State on which the civilian persons in question depend shall have given prior consent to such a request.
Article 45: The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Viet-Nam declares that the transfer of civilian persons protected by this Convention to a Power which is a party to the Convention does not release the Detaining Power from its responsibility for the application of the provisions of the Convention."

Reservations made upon accession of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on 28 June 1957:
"Article 11: A request by the Detaining Power to a neutral Power or to an organization providing guarantees of impartiality and effectiveness, to undertake the functions entrusted to the Protecting Powers by the Convention, will not be recognized as lawful by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, unless the State of which the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field are nationals has approved the request.
Article 45: The Democratic Republic of Vietnam declares that the transfer by the Detaining Power of protected persons to a Power which is a party to the Convention does not release the Detaining Power from its responsibility for the application of the provisions of the Convention relating to civilian persons in time of war."

Yemen

Declaration made upon accession:
"The Government of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen declares that the accession of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen to this Conventions by no means implies recognition of Israel."

 

Explore WIPO