[The Human Rights Library wishes to express its gratitude to the Institute Henry Dunant for its contribution of this document.]
The Conference recommends that, in the case of a dispute relating to the interpretation or application of the present Conventions which cannot be settled by other means, the High Contracting Parties concerned endeavour to agree between themselves to refer such dispute to the International Court of Justice.
Whereas circumstances may arise in the event of the outbreak of a future international conflict in which there will be no Protecting Power with whose cooperation and under whose scrutiny the Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War can be applied; and
whereas Article 10 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949, Article 10 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea of August 12, 1949, Article 10 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949, and Article 11 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949, provide that the High Contracting Parties may at any time agree to entrust to a body which offers all guarantees of impartiality and efficacy the duties incumbent on the Protecting Powers by virtue of the aforesaid Conventions,
the Conference recommends that consideration be given as soon as possible to the advisability of setting up an international body, the functions of which shall be, in the absence of a Protecting Power, to fulfil the duties performed by Protecting Powers in regard to the application of the Conventions for the Protection of War Victims.
Whereas agreements may only with difficulty be concluded during hostilities;
whereas Article 28 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949, provides that the Parties to the conflict shall, during hostilities, make arrangements for relieving where possible retained personnel, and shall settle the procedure of such relief;
whereas Article 31 of the same Convention provides that, as from the outbreak of hostilities, Parties to the conflict may determine by special arrangement the percentage of personnel to be retained, in proportion to the number of prisoners and the distribution of the said personnel in the camps,
the Conference requests the International Committee of the Red Cross to prepare a model agreement on the two questions referred to in the two Articles mentioned above and to submit it to the High Contracting Parties for their approval.
Whereas Article 33 of the Geneva Convention of July 27, 1929, for the Relief of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field, concerning the identity documents to be carried by medical personnel, was only partially observed during the course of the recent war, thus creating serious difficulties for many members of such personnel,
the Conference recommends that States and National Red Cross Societies take all necessary steps in time of peace to have medical personnel duly provided with the badges and identity cards prescribed in Article 40 of the new Convention.
Whereas misuse has frequently been made of the Red Cross emblem,
the Conference recommends that States take strict measures to ensure that the said emblem, as well as other emblems referred to in Article 38 of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field of August 12, 1949, is used only within the limits prescribed by the Geneva Conventions, in order to safeguard their authority and protect their high significance.
Whereas the present Conference has not been able to raise the question of the technical study of means of communication between hospital ships, on the one hand, and warships and military aircraft on the other, since that study went beyond its terms of reference;
whereas this question is of the greatest importance for the safety and efficient operation of hospital ships,
the Conference recommends that the High Contracting Parties will, in the near future, instruct a Committee of Experts to examine technical improvements of modern means of communication between hospital ships, on the one hand, and warships and military aircraft, on the other, and also to study the possibility of drawing up an International Code laying down precise regulations for the use of those means, in order that hospital ships may be assured of the maximum protection and be enabled to operate with the maximum efficiency.
The Conference, being desirous of securing the maximum protection for hospital ships, expresses the hope that all High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed forces at Sea of August 12, 1949, will arrange that, when ever conveniently practicable, such ships shall frequently and regularly broadcast particulars of their position, route and speed.
The Conference wishes to affirm before all nations:
that, its work having been inspired solely by humanitarian aims, its earnest hope is that, in the future, Governments may never have to apply the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims;
that its strongest desire is that the Powers, great and small, may always reach a friendly settlement of their differences through cooperation and understanding between nations, so that peace shall reign on earth for ever.
Whereas Article 71 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949, provides that prisoners of war who have been without news for a long period, or who are unable to receive news from their next of kin or to give them news by the ordinary postal route, as well as those who are at a great distance from their home, shall be permitted to send telegrams, the fees being charged against the prisoners of war's account with the Detaining Power or paid in the currency at their disposal, and that prisoners of war shall likewise benefit by these facilities in cases of urgency; and
whereas to reduce the cost, often prohibitive, of such telegrams or cables, it appears necessary that some method of grouping messages should be introduced whereby a series of short specimen messages concerning personal health, health of relatives at home, schooling, finance, etc., could be drawn up and numbered, for use by prisoners of war in the aforesaid circumstances,
the Conference, therefore, requests the International Committee of the Red Cross to prepare a series of specimen messages covering these requirements and to submit them to the High Contracting Parties for their approval.
The Conference considers that the conditions under which a Party to a conflict can be recognized as a belligerent by Powers not taking part in this conflict, are governed by the general rules of international law on the subject and are in no way modified by the Geneva Conventions.
Whereas the Geneva Conventions require the International Committee of the Red Cross to be ready at all times and in all circumstances to fulfil the humanitarian tasks entrusted to it by these Conventions,
the Conference recognizes the necessity of providing regular financial support for the International Committee of the Red Cross.