Law and Famous Trials

Geneva Conventions

What are the Hague Conventions?

They are international treaties (1899, 1907) covering the laws and customs of war. The first Hague Convention developed out of the Peace Conference of 1899, held in The Hague (The Netherlands) and convened by Russian tsar Nicholas II (1868–1918). Among the original goals was limiting the expansion of armed forces. Though the representatives there, from 26 nations (including the United States), failed to agree on a resolution to limit such expansion, they did agree on certain rules of engagement for war on land and at sea. Also, very importantly, they adopted the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. This convention set up the permanent international court of arbitration and justice, still in existence today. The court is in The Hague, where it is housed in the Peace Palace, a gift of American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919). A later convention, the Second Hague Peace Conference, was held in 1907; representatives of 44 nations met for a period of four months. The convention of 1907 modified and added to the first. Delegates resolved to meet again in 1915, but that conference was not held due to the outbreak of the first World War. The Hague Conventions were the forerunners of the League of Nations and the United Nations.


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