chapter  3
17 Pages

Muddied waters

The influence of the first Hague conference on the evolution of the Geneva Conventions of 1864 and 1906
WithNeville Wylie

The 1899 Hague Peace Conference played a facilitative, even catalytic, role in the process of updating the 1864 Geneva Convention and in translating its provisions into naval warfare. Its contribution to the development of what would become the centre piece of international humanitarian law could arguably be considered one of its most profound legacies. The decision to include the maritime regulations in the 1899 Hague Peace Conference is usually seen as part of Fyodor Martens' adroit pre-conference manoeuvring and his attempt to insure against the conference breaking up without result by stacking the agenda with less contentious 'legal' issues. The legal community's growing success in asserting international law's relevance to inter-state relations meant that it became progressively harder for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to insist on the special, medical character of the Geneva Convention.