After the terrible events of the Second World War, at an international conference in Geneva chaired by Federal Councillor Max Petitpierre, four new Geneva Conventions were adopted on 12 August 1949. They form the core of international humanitarian law and are applicable in times of armed conflict. In particular they protect persons who are not, or no longer, participating in hostilities. They also set minimum standards for non-international armed conflict.
To date, all countries in the world have committed to respect the Geneva Conventions. This universal commitment to our shared humanity is a success story for Switzerland and demonstrates the importance of international law and multilateralism.
Over the past 70 years, the Geneva Conventions have saved millions of lives. They have reduced the horrors of war and made it easier to return to peaceful coexistence. However, international humanitarian law continually faces new challenges. The anniversary provides an opportunity to promote better compliance.
Switzerland’s commitment as a state party to the Geneva Conventions