The first two Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 were adopted on 8 June 1977. Numerous expert meetings were organized in the lead-up to the adoption of the Protocols. These various forums produced a whole range of documents which remain relevant today for the interpretation and application of these instruments of international humanitarian law.


René-Jean Wilhelm, a member of the team of legal experts who drafted the 1949 Conventions, and historian François Bugnion look back on this milestone in the history of international humanitarian law. © ICRC, V-F-CR-F-01477

19th International Conference of the Red Cross (New Delhi, 24 October-7 November 1957)

20th International Conference of the Red Cross (Vienna, 2-9 October 1965)

Memorandum (19 May 1967)

Memorandum, Protection of Civilian Populations against the Dangers of Indiscriminate Warfare (also available in French, German and Spanish)

21st International Conference of the Red Cross (Istanbul, 6-13 September 1969)

Conference of Red Cross Experts, 1st Session (The Hague, 1-6 March 1971)

Conference of Government Experts, 1st Session (Geneva, 24 May-12 June 1971)

Documents submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (also available in French and Spanish):

  • Mesures intended to reinforce the implementation of the existing law
  • Protection of the civilian population against dangers of hostilities
  • Rules relative to behaviour of combatants
  • Protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts
  • Rules applicable in guerilla warfare
  • Protection of the wounded and sick

Report on the work of the conference (also available in French and Spanish)

Conference of Red Cross Experts, 2nd Session (Vienna, 20-24 March 1972)

Conference of Government Experts, 2nd Session (Geneva, 3 May-3 June 1972)

Documents submitted by the ICRC (also available in French and Spanish):

  • Technical memorandum on medical marking and identification
  • Draft additional protocols and resolutions
  • Commentary on the draft additional protocols

Report on the work of the conference (also available in French and Spanish)

Questionnaire concerning measures intended to reinforce the implementation of the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 : replies sent by governments (also available in French and Spanish)

22nd International Conference of the Red Cross (Tehran, 8-15 November 1973)

Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts (Geneva, 1974-1977)

First session, 20 February-29 March 1974
Second session, 3 February-18 April 1975
Third session, 21 April-11 June 1976
Fourth session, 17 March-10 June 1977

Official records (also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish)

Draft protocol I : Following the second session of the diplomatic conference (also available in French)

Draft protocol I : Following the third session of the diplomatic conference (also available in French and Spanish)

Draft protocol II : Following the second session of the diplomatic conference (also available in French)

Draft protocol II : Following the third session of the diplomatic conference (also available in French and Spanish)

To go further…