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Protocol (II) Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts

Argentina

Declaration made upon accession:
"With reference to Article 1 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), taking its context into account, the Argentine Republic considers that the term "organized armed groups" which is used in Article 1 of the said Protocol is not to be understood as equivalent to that used in Article 43, Protocol I, to define the concept of armed forces, even if the aforementioned groups meet all the requirements set forth in the said Article 43."

Austria

Reservation made upon accession:
"Article 6, paragraph 2, sub-paragraph (e) of Protocol II will be applied insofar as it is not incompatible with legislation providing that any defendant, who causes a disturbance at the trial or whose presence is likely to impede the questioning of another defendant or the hearing of a witness or expert witness, may be removed from the courtroom."

Canada

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Government of Canada understands that the undefined terms used in Additional Protocol II which are defined in Additional Protocol I shall, so far as relevant, be construed in the same sense as those definitions.
The understandings expressed by the Government of Canada with respect to Additional Protocol I shall, as far as relevant, be applicable to the comparable terms and provisions contained in Additional Protocol II."

Egypt

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Arab Republic of Egypt, in ratifying Protocols I and II of 1977 additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, wishes to express its conviction that the provisions of Additional Protocols I and II represent the minimum level of legal and actual protection that must be afforded to persons and civilian and cultural objects in armed conflict.
On the basis of its strong conviction of the principles of the great Islamic Sharia, the Arab Republic of Egypt wishes at the same time to emphasize that it is the duties of all nations alike to refrain from the involvement of innocent civilians in armed conflict; furthermore they should make all efforts, to the maximum extent possible, to that end as this is indispensable for the survival of humanity and the cultural heritage and civilization of all countries and nations.
The Arab Republic of Egypt, while declaring its commitment to respecting all the provisions of Additional Protocols I and II, wishes to emphasize, on the basis of reciprocity, that it upholds the right to react against any violation by any party of the obligations imposed by Additional Protocols I and II with all means admissible under international law in order to prevent any further violation. In this context it wishes to assert that military commanders planning or executing attacks make their decisions on the basis of their assessment of all kinds of information available to them at the time of the military operations."

Notification made upon ratification:
"The Arab Republic of Egypt, while welcoming the adoption by the Diplomatic Conference in June 1977 of Protocols I and II additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 in six languages, including the Arabic language, notes that all original texts are certified and equally authentic with no prevalence of one single language over the other.
However, on comparison of the original Arabic text of Additional Protocols I and II with the other original texts, it became evident that in some respects the Arabic text does not fully correspond to the other original texts to the extent that it is at variance in terms of both expression and substance with some of the provisions of Additional Protocols I and II adopted by States in the field of international law and human relations.
Hence the Arab Republic of Egypt, on the occasion of the deposit of its instrument of ratification of Protocols I and II additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 with the depositary, the Swiss Federal Council, wishes to declare that in that respect it shall adopt the meaning which best concurs with the original texts of Additional Protocols I and II."

France

Declaration made upon accession:
"On depositing France's instrument of accession to Protocol II of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, I have the honor to specify that it is not the intention of the French Republic to accede to Protocol I of the same date to the said Conventions. This decision has been taken for the reasons mentioned by the representative of France during the fourth session of the Geneva Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts and, more particularly, in view of the lack of consensus among the States signatory to Protocol I with regard to the precise extent of the obligations incurred by them in the matter of deterrence."

Holy See

Declaration made upon ratification:
"By ratifying the two Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, relating to the Protection of Victims of International (Protocol I) and Non-International (Protocol II) Armed Conflicts and adopted in Geneva on 8 June 1977, the Holy See wishes, first of all, to acknowledge the merits and the positive results obtained by the "Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts", in which it played an active part.
The Holy See believes that, from an overall historical and legal point of view, the two Protocols represent and confirm a significant advance in humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts, an advance that deserves approval and support.
At the same time, with regard to the provisions of the above-mentioned legal texts, the Holy See wishes to remind the Secretariat of the Conference of the considerations that were made known by its delegation at the end of the session. It is a source of great pleasure to recognize the value of provisions which, in certain sectors, increase the scope of humanitarian law, as for example: the protection of the civilian population, especially of women and children; the protection afforded to cultural objects and places of worship which are evidence and signs of the spiritual heritage of nations; the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population; the respect and protection of medical and religious personnel; the ban on retaliation.
On the other hand, in the opinion of the Holy See, other provisions are less satisfactory in substance or are not very well formulated. Furthermore, uncertainties and omissions were found on important issues in relation to the development of humanitarian standards. With regard to Protocol II in particular, the Holy See regrets that, after having been stripped of a large part of its humanitarian substance by the plenary Assembly of the Conference, the Protocol has become the instrument of a rigorous legal system both in its text and in its spirit.
Although the Holy See signed the Protocol, with serious reservations, and although it is now ratifying it, it is mainly because it looks upon the Protocol as an open door to future developments of humanitarian law in a crucial and, until now, much neglected sector.
The Holy See also announces that it has taken note of the reservations and declarations formulated by some States that have deposited an instrument of ratification or of adhesion to the Protocols.

Finally, the Holy See reasserts, on this occasion, its strong conviction as to the fundamentally inhumane nature of war. The humanization of the effects of armed conflicts, such as that undertaken by the two Protocols, is received with favor and encouraged by the Holy See in so far as it aims to alleviate human suffering and strives, amid unbridled passions and evil forces, to safeguard the basic principles of humanity and the supreme benefits of civilization. The Holy See expresses, moreover, its firm belief that the ultimate goal, that which is worthy of the calling of man and of human civilization, is the abolition of war. One cannot help thinking that the measures embodied in the Geneva Conventions and more recently by the two Additional Protocols - measures which are already in themselves frail instruments for the protection of victims of conventional armed conflicts - would prove to be not only insufficient but totally inadequate in the face of the ruinous devastation of a nuclear war.
The Holy See, considering itself the spokesman for the fears and the hopes of nations, hopes that the encouraging start made in Geneva by the codification of humanitarian law in armed conflicts may not go unheeded or remain a purely formal commitment but that people may become aware of it, put it into practice and follow it to its final conclusion: the abolition of war, of any kind whatever."

Ireland

Reservations made upon ratification:
"1. Ireland, in ratifying Protocol II Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 adopted at Geneva on 8 June 1977, declares its belief that the provisions of this Protocol represent the minimum level of legal and actual protection bound to be afforded to persons and civilian and cultural objects in armed conflicts.
2. Article 6 paragraph 2(e): Article 6 will be applied in Ireland insofar as paragraph 2(e) is not incompatible with the power enabling a judge, in exceptional circumstances, to order the removal of an accused from the court who causes a disturbance at the trial."

Liechtenstein

Reservation made upon ratification:
"Article 6, paragraph 2(e), of Protocol II will be implemented provided that it is not incompatible with
legislation under which any accused who causes a disturbance in court or whose presence could impede the
questioning of another accused or of a witness or expert may be excluded from the court room."

Malta

Reservation made upon accession:
"Article 6, paragraph 2, sub-paragraph (e) of Protocol II will be applied insofar as it is not incompatible with legislation providing that any defendant, who causes a disturbance at the trial or whose presence is likely to impede the questioning of another defendant or the hearing of a witness or expert witness, may be removed from the courtroom."

Namibia

Declaration made upon accession:
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the Protocols are binding on Namibia, in accordance with Article 143 of the Namibian Constitution, which provides that "All existing international agreements binding upon Namibia shall remain in force, unless and until the National Assembly acting under Article 63(2)(d) here of otherwise decides".

Oman

Declaration made upon accession:
"While deposing these instruments, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman declares that these accessions shall in no way amount to recognition of nor the establishment of any relations with Israel with respect to the application of the provisions of the said protocols."

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".

Russian Federation

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The Soviet Union's ratification of the Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions for the protection of the victims of war constitutes an unusual event in the recent diplomatic history of our country.
It reflects the spirit of new political thinking and demonstrates the Soviet State's commitment to humanizing international affairs and strengthening the system of international law.
At the same time, it exemplifies the spirit of continuity between Russian and Soviet diplomacy, extending back to the 1860s, in seeking to ensure that the principles of humanism and mercy are respected even in the tragic circumstances of war.
The Additional Protocols, in whose drafting the Soviet Union played a universally recognized role, were among the first international instruments presented for ratification to the new Soviet Parliament.
It should be pointed out that the Supreme Soviet of the USSR chose to ratify the Protocols without any reservation whatsoever. At the same time, our State recognized the competence of the International Fact-Finding Commission in cases where international humanitarian law is violated.
We in the Soviet Union hope that the ratification of the Additional Protocols will be duly appreciated by all those involved in the noble cause of humanism and the endeavor to free mankind from the horrors of war."

United Arab Emirates

Declaration made upon accession:
"On accepting the said protocol, the Government of the United Arab Emirates takes the view that its acceptance of the said protocol does not, in any way, imply its recognition of Israel, nor does it oblige to apply the provisions of the protocol in respect of the said country.(...)"

 

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