This week, we mark the 150th anniversary of the signing of the original Geneva Convention (for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field). Signed on August 22, 1864, it was the founding text for contemporary international humanitarian law (IHL) - a body of legislation that now includes more than 100 texts and treaties.
As the one-time director of the ICRC, Jean Pictet, wrote in the American Journal of International Law back in 1951, "international law has gradually extended its protection to fresh categories of war victims, as the technique of warfare was perfected." He added, "As the evils of war involved greater masses of people, so did the humanitarian effort address itself to an ever-increasing number." Through this photo gallery, we step back in time to see how the rules of war, along with several important international conventions, protocols, and treaties have been adopted and adapted over the past 150 years to meet modern-day humanitarian challenges - from protecting children to banning the use of cluster munitions.
Later in the week, we'll feature a new film, aimed at general audiences, that does a great job of explaining why even wars have limits. On Friday, we'll also feature an op-ed jointly signed by the ICRC's president, Peter Maurer, and the president of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter, calling for greater respect for IHL. And we'll show you the ICRC's new online platform for its digitized "Prisoners of the First World War Archives," which enables members of the public to search for the records of relatives who were captured during the "Great War".