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Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907): Wikis


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The Hague Conventions were international treaties negotiated at the First and Second Peace Conferences at The Hague, Netherlands in 1899 and 1907, respectively, and were, along with the Geneva Conventions, among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of secular international law.


Hague Convention of 1899

The First Peace Conference was held from May 18 and signed on July 29, 1899, and entered into force on September 4, 1900. The Hague Convention of 1899 consisted of four main sections and three additional declarations (the final main section is for some reason identical to the first additional declaration):

  • I - Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
  • II - Laws and Customs of War on Land
  • III - Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of Principles of Geneva Convention of 1864
  • IV - Prohibiting Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons
  • Declaration I - On the Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons
  • Declaration II - On the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases
  • Declaration III - On the Use of Bullets Which Expand or Flatten Easily in the Human Body

The main effect of the Convention was to ban the use of certain types of modern technology in war: bombing from the air, chemical warfare, and hollow point bullets. The Convention also set up the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The conference was summoned at the urging of Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov, Foreign Minister of Russia. Its delegates included Fyodor Martens and Ivan Bloch. The American delegation was led by diplomat and educator Andrew Dickson White.

Hague Convention of 1907

The Second Peace Conference was held from June 15 to October 18, 1907, to expand upon the original Hague Convention, modifying some parts and adding others, with an increased focus on naval warfare. This was signed on October 18, 1907, and entered into force on January 26, 1910. It consisted of thirteen sections, of which twelve were ratified and entered into force:

Two declarations were signed as well:

  • Declaration I — extending Declaration II from the 1899 Conference to other types of aircraft[2]
  • Declaration II—- on the obligatory arbitration

The Brazilian delegation was led by the statesman Ruy Barbosa, whose contribution was essential for the defense of the principle of legal equality of nations[3]. The British delegation included the 11th Lord Reay (Donald James Mackay), Sir Ernest Satow and Eyre Crowe. The Russian delegation was led by Fyodor Martens.

Geneva Protocol to Hague Convention

Though not negotiated in The Hague, the Geneva Protocol to the Hague Convention is considered an addition to the Convention. Signed on June 17, 1925 and entering into force on February 8, 1928, it permanently bans the use of all forms of chemical and biological warfare in its single section, entitled Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. The protocol grew out of the increasing public outcry against chemical warfare following the use of mustard gas and similar agents in World War I, and fears that chemical and biological warfare could lead to horrific consequences in any future war. The protocol has since been augmented by the Biological Weapons Convention (1972) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (1993).

See also



  1. ^ The never-ratified Section XII would have established an international court for the resolution of conflicting claims to captured shipping during wartime.
  2. ^ However this extension was signed, among the great Powers, only by United Kingdom, United States of America and Austria-Hungary. Also Austria-Hungary never ratified it, so this extension remained, practically, only a purpose. Only the Article 25, The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited., with the words "whatever means" was a limitation to aerial bombing. "Declaration (XIV) Prohibiting the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons. The Hague, 18 October 1907.". Retrieved 23 August 2009.  
  3. ^ Klein, Robert A. (1974), Sovereign Equality Among States: The History of an Idea, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p. 61


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