Geneva Conventions

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols were signed in 1949. These are international treaties that place limits and protections in times of armed conflict. They protect people not taking part or no longer taking part in the fighting such as; civilians; medical workers; aid workers; wounded, sick, and shipwrecked troops; and prisoners of war. They also place limits on the means and methods of warfare for those fighting in armed conflict.

These treaties form the basis of International Humanitarian Law.

The Geneva Conventions were agreed to by countries worldwide. They were brought into Irish national law by the Geneva Conventions Act 1962 and Geneva Conventions (Amendment) Act 1998

There are four Geneva Conventions and two Additional Protocols:

You can find an updated commentary of the Geneva Conventions here.

Other sources of IHL

There are other treaties addressing specific issues within armed conflict and placing limits certain weapons. A full list of these can be found in this ICRC Database.

Customary laws and other general principles of law also form part of IHL.

Last updated April 2023