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The Geneva Conventions and Human Rights during Wartime Dr. Ahmed Nassar 2014 / 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "The Geneva Conventions and Human Rights during Wartime Dr. Ahmed Nassar 2014 / 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Geneva Conventions and Human Rights during Wartime Dr. Ahmed Nassar 2014 / 2015

2 Dr. Ahmed Nassar The Geneva Conventions The first modern international rules of war, known as the Geneva Conventions, or Treaties, were made in Geneva, Switzerland in The first modern international rules of war, known as the Geneva Conventions, or Treaties, were made in Geneva, Switzerland in The Geneva Conventions were first drafted and ratified in Europe in 1864, modern version with four Conventions drafted in 1949 and ratified by 191 countries. The Geneva Conventions were first drafted and ratified in Europe in 1864, modern version with four Conventions drafted in 1949 and ratified by 191 countries. Led to the establishment of the Red Cross in Led to the establishment of the Red Cross in These treaties were accepted by all European countries, the US and some Asian & Latin American countries. These treaties were accepted by all European countries, the US and some Asian & Latin American countries. New rules are added as they are needed. New rules are added as they are needed. 2

3 Dr. Ahmed Nassar The Geneva Conventions Geneva Conventions guarantee human rights to four groups: Geneva Conventions guarantee human rights to four groups: 1- The sick and wounded put out of action in a war, 2- Shipwrecked sailors during the war, 3- Prisoners of war (POW), and 4- Civilians in territory occupied by an army. 3

4 Dr. Ahmed Nassar GENEVA CONVENTIONS OF 12 AUGUST 1949 Geneva Convention IV Protection of civilians in time of war Geneva Convention III Treatment of prisoners of war (POW) Geneva Convention I Improving the conditions of the sick and wounded, members of the armed forces in the field Geneva Convention II Improving the conditions of shipwrecked sailors, members of armed forces at sea UNICEF 4

5 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Geneva Conventions I & II Everything possible must be done, without any kind of discrimination, to reduce the suffering of people who have been put out of action by sickness, wounds or captivity. Everything possible must be done, without any kind of discrimination, to reduce the suffering of people who have been put out of action by sickness, wounds or captivity. If a member of the armed forces is wounded or sick, and therefore is in no condition to take an active part in the hostilities, he is no longer part of the fighting force and becomes a vulnerable person in need of protection and care. If a member of the armed forces is wounded or sick, and therefore is in no condition to take an active part in the hostilities, he is no longer part of the fighting force and becomes a vulnerable person in need of protection and care. 5 The human dignity of all individuals must be respected at all times

6 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Geneva Conventions I & II … Continued Combatants (fighters in a war) must treat members of enemy forces who are wounded, sick or shipwrecked as carefully their own. Combatants (fighters in a war) must treat members of enemy forces who are wounded, sick or shipwrecked as carefully their own. Medical equipment must not be intentionally destroyed and medical establishments and vehicles must not be attacked, damaged or prevented from operating. Medical equipment must not be intentionally destroyed and medical establishments and vehicles must not be attacked, damaged or prevented from operating. 6 The human dignity of all individuals must be respected at all times

7 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Who is a POW (Prisoner Of War)? Geneva Convention III includes restrictions that apply to prisoners of war, i.e., captured soldiers from other countries’ armies. Geneva Convention III includes restrictions that apply to prisoners of war, i.e., captured soldiers from other countries’ armies. Terrorist groups are not nation states and thus not deserving of Geneva Convention protections. Terrorist groups are not nation states and thus not deserving of Geneva Convention protections. 7

8 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Geneva Convention III Prisoners of War Must be: Allowed to inform next of kin and International Red Cross of their capture. Allowed to inform next of kin and International Red Cross of their capture. Allowed to correspond regularly with relatives and to receive relief parcels. Allowed to correspond regularly with relatives and to receive relief parcels. Allowed to keep their clothes, utensils & personal effects Allowed to keep their clothes, utensils & personal effects Supplied with adequate food and clothing. Supplied with adequate food and clothing. 8

9 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Geneva Convention III Prisoners of War Must be: … 2 Provided with adequate living quarters. Provided with adequate living quarters.  Given adequate medical care.  Paid for any work they do.  Repatriated if certified seriously ill or wounded. Quickly released and repatriated when hostilities cease. Quickly released and repatriated when hostilities cease. 9

10 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Geneva Convention III … 2 Prisoners of war must NOT be: Compelled to give any information other than their name, age, rank and service number. Compelled to give any information other than their name, age, rank and service number. Torture or inhumane treatment of POWs (Geneva III, Art. 17 & 87) or protected persons (Geneva IV, Art. 32) are grave breaches of Geneva Conventions, and are considered war crimes. Torture or inhumane treatment of POWs (Geneva III, Art. 17 & 87) or protected persons (Geneva IV, Art. 32) are grave breaches of Geneva Conventions, and are considered war crimes

11 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Geneva Convention IV Protected Civilians MUST be:  Protected against acts or threats of violence, insults and public curiosity.  Entitled to respect for their honor, family rights, religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.  Specially protected, for example in safety zones, if wounded DETAINED CIVILIANS must at all times be humanely treated (Geneva III, Art. 13, Geneva IV, Art. 27).

12 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Geneva Convention IV … 2  Protection of the sick and old, children under 15, expectant mothers or mothers of children under 7.  Enabled to exchange personal & family news.  Helped to secure news of family members dispersed by the conflict.  Allowed to practice their religion with ministers of their own faith.  Detainees may be questioned, but any form of “physical or mental coercion” is prohibited (Geneva III, Art. 17; Geneva IV, Art. 31).  Women shall be protected from any indecent assault (Geneva IV, Art. 27)

13 Dr. Ahmed Nassar ADDITIONAL PROTOCOLS OF 8 JUNE 1977 Additional Protocol II II. Additional Protocol II: Relating to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Additional Protocol I I. Additional Protocol I: Relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts. UNICEF 13 13

14 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Two protocols added in 1977 (ratified by over 160 nations) Protocol I Prohibits: Protocol I Prohibits: Attacking dams, houses of worship, food and water supplies, Attacking dams, houses of worship, food and water supplies, Recruiting children under 15 into armed forces, Recruiting children under 15 into armed forces, Bombing nuclear power stations, and Bombing nuclear power stations, and Use of weapons which cause superfluous injury or severe long term environmental damage. Use of weapons which cause superfluous injury or severe long term environmental damage Protocol I adds explicit protections to prohibit attacks on civilians and civilian targets Protocol I adds explicit protections to prohibit attacks on civilians and civilian targets

15 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Two protocols added in 1977 (ratified by over 160 nations) … Cont’d Protocol II Prohibits: Protocol II Prohibits: Collective punishment, terrorism, and hostage- taking, and Collective punishment, terrorism, and hostage- taking, and Attacks on basic needs for civilian survival such as crops, drinking water supplies, and irrigation systems. Attacks on basic needs for civilian survival such as crops, drinking water supplies, and irrigation systems Protocol II adds explicit protections to civilians during a civil war

16 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984 Every person has the right to have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. Punishment shall not be extended to any person other than the criminal. Punishment shall not be extended to any person other than the criminal. Article 5: Right to Humane Treatment 16 16

17 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Accused persons shall be segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as non-convicted persons. Accused persons shall be segregated from convicted persons, and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as non-convicted persons. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be separated from adults and brought before specialized tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be treated in accordance with their status as minors. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be separated from adults and brought before specialized tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be treated in accordance with their status as minors. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984 … 2 Article 5: Right to Humane Treatment 17 17

18 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Rome statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998 "Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused. "Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused. Article 7: Definition of Torture 18 18

19 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Arguments in Support of Torture 1.The Efficiency Argument  Torture can elicit information more quickly and efficiently than any other method. 2.Everyone Else Is Doing It  Other countries regularly use torture to obtain information.  To ban torture is to put our country at a competitive disadvantage

20 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Arguments Against Torture 1.The Inefficiency Argument  Under torture, prisoners will say anything to end the torture.  Other techniques are much more effective in eliciting reliable information. 2.The Slippery Slope  Even if justified in rare cases, it would quickly be used in other situations.  How do we know the suspect has the crucial information? 20 20

21 Dr. Ahmed Nassar Arguments Against Torture (Cont’d) The Reciprocity Argument  The best way to protect our troops from torture by the enemy is to refrain from torturing our own prisoners. 4.The Consistency Argument  By torturing, we are saying that it is permissible for others to torture as well.  This means we give up the moral high ground. 5.The Dignity Argument  Torture because it degrades us as a nation: It puts us on same level as our worst enemies.

22 Dr. Ahmed Nassar 22 Thank You Very Much


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