International Humanitarian Law in 21st Century Conflict: A Historical Examination of the Third Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (1949), and its Applicability in Future War
Technical Report,01 Aug 2015,01 Jun 2016
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
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This study examines the Third Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 1949 as the benchmark of international humanitarian law governing the treatment of prisoners during armed conflict. The history of humanitarian law during conflict dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. Since that time, the international community has incrementally codified provisions governing the detainment of enemy captives. However, the character of war has changed significantly since the drafting of the most recent update to the Geneva Conventions in 1949. Asymmetric conflict against non-state actors challenges many of the assumptions of war predicated upon by the Third Geneva Convention. A revision of the Convention must address current issues not captured within the provisions of the existing document. Examples of such matters of concern include conflict without a formal declaration of war the qualifications for enemy combatants to receive prisoner-of-war protections repatriation rendition operations consideration for failed states and international organizations or coalitions at war. As long as humans endeavor to wage war, the international community must maintain the applicability of international law to the current and future character of war in order to meet mankinds moral obligation to the humane treatment of prisoners during armed conflict.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Government and Political Science