RICR No. 834

Le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge à l'époque de la première Conférence de La Haye (1899)

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AbstractThe then-President of the ICRC, Gustave Moynier, welcomed the initiative taken by Czar Nicholas II to convene a conference to discuss a large number of proposals to ensure peace in Europe. This conference became to be known as the (First) International Peace Conference (The Hague, 1899). While Moynier did not expect very much from a debate on “abolishing war altogether”, he expected the Conference to bolster the work started in Geneva in 1864, in particular by adopting an extension to maritime warfare of the 1864 Convention. He nevertheless did everything possible to prevent the Hague Conference from taking upon itself an amendment of the 1864 Convention, which he considered to be a matter for a special meeting to be held under the aegis of “Geneva”. In the end, the Conference was unable to make substantial progress on the issues which it considered to be most important, in particular disarmament. It did, however, adopt an initial version of what was to become, in 1907, the Hague Regulations on land warfare, as well as the suggested text on maritime warfare. The ICRC was not represented at the Conference, as for reasons of poor health Gustave Moynier was unable to attend. Édouard Odier, another member of the ICRC, did take part in the Conference, but as a member of the Swiss delegation.

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