The Geneva Conventions and Modern War Essay

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In 1864 the Geneva Conventions were created during a conference in Geneva Switzerland, and were immediately ratified by twelve countries. Now there are one hundred and ninety four countries that have signed and ratified the conventions (ICRC 1 – 6). The Geneva Conventions set the standards in international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war. There are four conventions in total, and all of which deal with a different aspect of war. The first Geneva Convention, which deals with the treatment of wounded and sick soldiers on the field during times of war, was put into effect in 1864. The Seconds Convention, which deals with the treatment of shipwrecks and sick members of armed forces as sea, was put into effect in…show more content…
However, the Geneva Conventions are outdated and therefore need to be revamped in order to deal with the changes in modern warfare. One of the main issues regarding the Geneva Conventions is that they do not deal with terrorist organizations or rebel armies. Both of these organizations play a huge part in modern warfare; in Africa’s longest running war the belligerent is the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which is a rebel force. Terrorism has been one, if not the, main issue involving conflict in recent history. It seems odd then, that the international rules of law do not properly deal with either of these areas of war. The only method that they have in place is the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which deals with internal conflict. The issue with this article however is that the term “armed” conflict is up for the interpretation of the country in which the war is taking place. Firstly there are the issues surrounding Rebel Armies: these illegal armies are called rebel armies for a reason; they have no care for laws and sanctions, international or national. Lois Whitman, the director of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Project, said that the human rights abuses of the LRA shock the conscience: they violate both the most elementary principals of human morality and the most fundamental international humanitarian standards,” (Whitman qtd in AfricaFocus). The LRA violates in particular Common Article 3 of the
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