These Terms of the Geneva Convention of 1906, that were operative during the Great War of 1914-1918, have taken the place of the earlier Geneva Convention of August 22nd 1864.
Dr M. G. Miller, Editor
GENEVA CONVENTION OF JULY 6th, 1906.
CHAPTER I. -- WOUNDED AND SICK
Officers and soldiers, and other persons officially attached to armies, shall be respected and taken care of when wounded or sick, by the belligerent in whose power they may be, without distinction of nationality. Nevertheless, a belligerent who is compelled to abandon sick or wounded to the enemy shall, as far as military exigencies permit, leave with them a portion of his medical personnel and material to contribute to the care of them.
Except as regards the treatment to be provided for them in virtue of the preceding Article. the wounded and sick of an army who fall into the hands of the enemy are prisoners of war, and the general provisions of international law concerning prisoners are applicable to them.
Belligerents are, however, free to arrange with one another such exceptions and mitigations with reference to sick and wounded prisoners as they may judge expedient; in particular they will be at liberty to agree ---
To restore to one another the wounded left on the field after a battle;
To repatriate any wounded and sick whom they do not wish to retain as prisoners, after rendering them fit for removal or after recovery:
To hand over to a neutral State, with the latter's consent, the enemy's wounded and sick to be interned by the neutral State until the end of hostilities.
After each engagement, the Commander in possession of the field shall take measures to search for the wounded, and to ensure protection against pillage and maltreatment both for the wounded and for the dead.
He shall arrange that a careful examination of the bodies is made before the dead are buried or cremated.
As early as possible each belligerent shall send to the authorities of the country or army to which they belong the military identification marks or tokens, found on the dead, and a nominal roll of the wounded or sick who have been collected by him.
The belligerents shall keep each other mutually informed of ally internments and changes, as well as of admissions into hospital and deaths among the wounded and sick in their hands. They shall collect all the articles of personal use, valuables, letters, etc, which are found on the field of battle or left by the wounded or sick who have died in the medical establishments or units, in order that such objects may be transmitted to the persons interested by the authorities of their own country.
The competent military authority may appeal to the charitable zeal of the inhabitants to collect and take care of, under his direction, the wounded or sick of armies granting to those who respond to the appeal special protection and certain immunities.
CHAPTER II - MEDICAL UNITS AND ESTABLISHMENTS.
Mobile medical units (that is to say, those which are intended to accompany armies into the field) and the fixed establishments of the medical service shall be respected and protected by the belligerents.
The protection to which medical units and establishments are entitled ceases if they are made use of to commit acts harmful to the enemy.
The following facts are not considered to be of a nature to deprive a medical unit or establishment of the protection guaranteed by Article 6:-
1. That the personnel of the unit or of the establishment is armed, and that it uses it arms for its own defence or for that of the sick and wounded under its charge.
2. That in default of armed orderlies the unit or establishment is guarded by a piquet or by sentinels furnished with an authority in due form.
3. That weapons and cartridges taken from the wounded and not yet handed over to the proper department are found in the unit or establishment.
The personnel engaged exclusively in the collection, transport, and treatment of the wounded and the sick, as well as in the administration of medical units and establishments, and the Chaplains attached to armies, shall be respected and protected under all circumstances. If they fall into the hands of the enemy they shall not be treated as prisoners of war.
These provisions apply to the Guard of medical units and establishments under the circumstances indicated in Article 8 (2).
The personnel of Voluntary Aid Societies, duly recognized authorized by their Government, who may be employed in the medical units and establishments of armies, is placed on the same footing as the personnel referred to in the preceding Article provided always that the first-mentioned personnel shall be subject to military law and regulations.
Each state shall notify to the other, either in time of peace or at the commencement of or during the course of hostilities, but in every case before actually employing them, the names of th Societies which it has authorised, under its responsibility, to render assistance to the regular medical service of its armies.
A recognized Society of a neutral country can only afford the assistance of its medical personnel and units to a belligerent with the previous consent of its own Government and the authorisation of the belligerent concerned.
A belligerent who accepts such assistance is bound to notify the fact to his adversary before making any use of it.
The persons designated in Articles 9, 10, and 11, after they have fallen into the hands of the enemy, shall continue to carry on their duties under his direction.
When their assistance is no longer indispensable, they shall be sent back to their army or to their country at such time and by such route as may be compatible with military exigencies.
They shall then take with them such effects, instruments, arms and horses as are their private property.
The enemy shall secure to the persons mentioned in Article 9 while in his hands, the same allowances and the same pay as at granted to the persons holding the same rank in his own army.
CHAPTER IV.- MATERIAL.
If mobile medical units fall into the hands of the enemy they shall retain -their material, including their teams, irrespectively the means of transport and the drivers employed.
Nevertheless, the competent military authority shall be free to use the material for the treatment of the wounded and sick. It shall be restored under the conditions laid down for the medical personnel, and so far as possible at the same time.
The buildings and material of fixed establishments remain subject to the laws of war, but may not be diverted from their purpose as long as they are necessary for the wounded and the sick.
Nevertheless, the Commanders of troops in the field may dispose of them, in case of urgent military necessity, provided they make previous arrangements for the welfare of the wounded and sick who are found there.
The material of Voluntary Aid Societies which are admitted to the privileges of the Convention under the conditions laid down therein is considered private property, and as such to he respected under all circumstances, saving only the right of requisition recognised for belligerents in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
CHAPTER V.- CONVOYS OF EVACUATION.
Convoys of evacuation shall be treated like mobile medical unit subject to the following special provisions :-
1. A belligerent intercepting a convoy may break it up if military exigencies demand, provided he takes charge of the sick and wounded who are in it.
2. In this case, the obligation to send back the medical personnel, provided for in Article 12, shall be extended to the whole of the military personnel detailed for the transport or the protection of the convoy and furnished with an authority in due form to that effect.
The obligation to restore the medical material, provided for in Article 14, shall apply to railway trains, and boats used in internal navigation, which are specially arranged for evacuations, as well as to the material belonging to the medical service for fitting up ordinary vehicles, trains, and boats. Military vehicles other than those of the medical service may be captured with their teams.
The civilian personnel and the various means of transport obtained by requisition, including railway material and boats used for convoys, shall be subject to the general rules of international law.
CHAPTER VI.-THE DISTINCTIVE EMBLEM.
As a compliment to Switzerland, the heraldic emblem of the red cross on a white ground, formed by reversing the Federal colours. is retained as the emblem and distinctive sign of the medical service of armies.
With the permission of the competent military authority this emblem shall be shown on the flags and armlets (brassards) as well as on all the material belonging to the medical service.
The personnel protected in pursuance of Articles 9 (paragraph 1), 10, and 11 shall wear, fixed to the left arm, an armlet (brassard) with a red cross on a white ground, delivered and stamped by the competent military authority, and accompanied by a certificate of identity in the case of persons who are attached to the medical service of armies, but who have not a military uniform.
The distinctive flag of the Convention shall only be hoisted over those medical units and establishments which are entitled to be respected under the Convention, and with the consent of the military authorities. It must be accompanied by the national flag of the belligerent to whom the unit or establishment belongs.
Nevertheless, medical units which have fallen into the hands of the enemy, so long as they are in that situation, shall not fly any other flag than that of the Red Cross.
The medical units belonging to neutral countries which may be authorized to afford their services under the conditions laid down in Article 11 shall fly, along with the flag of the Convention, the national flag of the belligerent to whose army they are attached.
The provisions of the second paragraph of the preceding Article are applicable to them.
The emblem of the red cross on a white ground and the words "Red Cross" or "Geneva Cross" shall not be used either in time of peace or in time of war, except to protect or to indicate the medical units and establishments and the personnel and material protected by the Convention.
CHAPTER VII. - APPLICATION AND CARRYING OUT OF THE
The provisions of the present Convention are only binding upon the Contracting Powers in the case of war between two or more of them. These provisions shall cease to be binding from the moment when one of the belligerent Powers is not a party to the Convention.
The Commanders-in-chief of belligerent armies shall arrange the details for carrying out the preceding Articles, as well as for cases not provided for, in accordance with the instructions of their respective Governments and in conformity with the general principles of the present Convention.
The Signatory Governments will take the necessary measures to instruct their troops, especially the personnel protected, in provisions of the present Convention, and to bring them to the notice of the civil population.
The Signatory Governments, in countries the legislation which is not at present adequate for the purpose, undertake to adopt or to propose to their legislative bodies such measures as may be necessary to prevent at all times the employment of the emblem or the name of Red Cross or Geneva Cross by private individuals or by Societies other than those which are entitled to do so under the present Convention and in particular for commercial purposes as a trade mark or trading mark.
The prohibition of the employment of the emblem or names in question shall come into operation from the date fixed by each legislature, and at the latest five years after the present Convention comes into force. From that date it shall no longer be lawful to adopt a trade-mark or trading mark contrary to prohibition.
The Signatory Governments also undertake to adopt, or propose to their legislative bodies, should their military law be insufficient for the purpose, the measures necessary for the repression in time of war of individual acts of pillage and maltreatment of the wounded and sick of armies, as well as for the punishment as an unlawful employment, as an unlawful employment of military insignia, of the improper use of the Red Cross flag and armlet (brassard) by officers soldiers or private individuals not protected by the present Convention.
They shall communicate to one another, through the Swiss Federal Council, the provisions relative to these measures of repression at the latest within five years from the ratification of the present Convention.
The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as possible. The ratification shall be deposited at Berne.
When each ratification is deposited a procès verbal shall be drawn up, and a copy thereof certified as correct shall be forwarded through the diplomatic channel to all the Contracting Powers.
The present Convention, duly ratified, shall replace the Convention of the 22nd August, 1864, in relations between the Contracting States. The Convention of 1864 remains in force between such of the parties who signed it who may not likewise ratify the present Convention.
The present Convention may be signed until the 31st December next by the Powers represented at the Conference which was opened at Geneva on the 11th June, 1906, as also by the Powers, not represented at that Conference, which signed the Convention of 1864.
Such of the aforesaid Powers as shall have not signed the present Convention by the 31st December, 1906, shall remain free to accede to it subsequently. They shall notify their accession by means of a written communication addressed to the Swiss Federal Council, and communicated by the latter to all the Contracting Powers.
Other Powers may apply to accede in the same manner, but their request shall only take effect if within a period of one year from the notification of it to the Federal Council no objection to it reaches the Council from any of the Contracting Powers.
Each of the Contracting Powers shall be at liberty to denounce the present Convention. The denunciation shall not take effect until one year after the written notification of it has reached the Swiss Federal Council. The Council shall immediately communicate the notification to all the other Contracting Powers. The denunciation shall only affect the Power which has notified it.
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