Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907. Along with the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the body of secular international law. A third conference was planned for 1914 and later rescheduled for 1915, but never took place due to the start of World War I.
Both conferences included negotiations concerning disarmament, the laws of war and war crimes. A major effort in both conferences was the creation of a binding international court for compulsory arbitration to settle international disputes, which was considered necessary to replace the institution of war. This effort, however, failed in 1899 and in 1907; instead a voluntary forum for arbitration, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, was established. Most of the countries present, including the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, and Persia, favored a process for binding international arbitration, but the provision was vetoed by a few countries, led by Germany.
Many of the rules laid down at the Hague Conventions were violated in the First World War. The German invasion of Belgium, for instance, was a violation of section III of the second conference, which states that hostilities must not commence without explicit warning.
Writing in 1918, the German international law scholar and neo-Kantian pacifist Walther Schücking called the assemblies the "international union of Hague conferences" and saw them as a nucleus of an international federation that was to meet at regular intervals to administer justice and develop international law procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes, asserting that "a definite political union of the states of the world has been created with the First and Second Conferences."
Hague Convention of 1899 
The peace conference was proposed on August 29, 1898 by Russian Tsar Nicholas II. Nicholas and Count Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov, his foreign minister, were instrumental in initiating the conference. The conference opened on May 18, 1899, the Tsar's birthday. The convention was signed on July 29 of that year, and entered into force on September 4, 1900. The Hague Convention of 1899 consisted of three main sections and three additional declarations:
- I: Pacific Settlement of International Disputes.
- This section included the creation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which exists to this day. The section was ratified by all major powers, including United States, Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Japan, China.
- II: Laws and Customs of War on Land
- This voluminous section contains the laws to be used in all wars on land between signatories. It specifies the treatment of prisoners of war, includes the provisions of the Geneva convention of 1864 for the treatment of the wounded, and forbids the use of poisons, the killing of people who have surrendered and the attack of undefended towns or habitations. Inhabitants of occupied territories may not be forced into military service against their own country and collective punishment is forbidden. The section was ratified by all major powers mentioned above.
- III: Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of Principles of Geneva Convention of 1864
- Provides for the protection of marked hospital ships and requires them to treat the wounded and shipwrecked sailors of all belligerent parties. Ratified by all major powers.
- Declaration (IV,1): On the Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons
- Provides that, for a period of 5 years, in any war between signatory powers, no projectiles or explosives would be launched from balloons, "or by other new methods of a similar nature." The declaration was ratified by all the major powers mentioned above.
- Declaration (IV,2): On the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases
- Declares that, in any war between signatory powers, the parties will abstain from using projectiles "the sole object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases." Ratified by all major powers, except the United States.
- Declaration (IV,3): On the Use of Bullets Which Expand or Flatten Easily in the Human Body
- Declares that, in any war between signatory powers, the parties will abstain from using "bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body." Ratified by all major powers, except the United States.
Hague Convention of 1907 
The second conference, in 1907, was generally a failure, with few major decisions. However, the meeting of major powers did prefigure later 20th-century attempts at international cooperation.
The second conference was called at the suggestion of American President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904, but postponed because of the war between Russia and Japan. The Second Peace Conference was held from June 15 to October 18, 1907, to expand upon the original Hague Convention, modifying some parts and adding others, with an increased focus on naval warfare. The British tried to secure limitation of armaments, but were defeated by the other powers, led by Germany, which feared a British attempt to stop the growth of the German fleet. Germany also rejected proposals for compulsory arbitration. However, the conference did enlarge the machinery for voluntary arbitration, and established conventions regulating the collection of debts, rules of war, and the rights and obligations of neutrals.
The Final Agreement was signed on October 18, 1907, and entered into force on January 26, 1910. It consisted of thirteen sections, of which twelve were ratified and entered into force:
- I: The Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
- This section confirms and expands on section I of the First Conference. As of 2013, 115 states have ratified.
- II: The Limitation of Employment of Force for Recovery of Contract Debts
- III: The Opening of Hostilities
- IV: The Laws and Customs of War on Land
- Confirms, with minor modifications, the provisions of Section II of the First Conference. All major powers ratified.
- V: The Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land
- VI: The Status of Enemy Merchant Ships at the Outbreak of Hostilities
- VII: The Conversion of Merchant Ships into War-Ships
- VIII: The Laying of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines
- IX: Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War
- X: Adaptation to Maritime War of the Principles of the Geneva Convention
- XI: Certain Restrictions with Regard to the Exercise of the Right of Capture in Naval War
- XII: The Creation of an International Prize Court [Not Ratified]
- This section would have established an international court for the resolution of conflicting claims to captured shipping during wartime. It was never ratified.
- XIII: The Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War
Two declarations were signed as well:
- Declaration XIV: Prohibiting the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons.
- Extends the provisions of Declaration (IV,1) of the First Conference to the close of the Third Peace Conference (which never took place). Among the major powers, this was ratified only by China, Great Britain, and the United States.
- Declaration on the obligatory arbitration
The Brazilian delegation was led by the statesman Ruy Barbosa, whose contribution was essential for the defense of the principle of legal equality of nations. The British delegation included the 11th Lord Reay (Donald James Mackay), Sir Ernest Satow and Eyre Crowe. The Russian delegation was led by Fyodor Martens. The Uruguayan delegation was led by José Batlle y Ordóñez, great defender of the compulsory arbitration by creating the idea of an International Court of Arbitration, and an alliance of nations to force the arbitration.
Korea made a futile effort to take part in the conference, in an incident known as the Hague Secret Emissary Affair. King Gojong dispatched Yi Jun, Yi Sang-Seol and Yi Wi-Jong as envoys to the second peace conference, to argue that the Eulsa Treaty was unjust and ask for help from the international society to recover Korea’s diplomatic sovereignty. An American missionary, Homer Hulbert, also travelled to The Hague to argue against the treaty. All four men were denied entry.
Geneva Protocol to Hague Convention 
Though not negotiated in The Hague, the Geneva Protocol to the Hague Convention is considered an addition to the Convention. Signed on June 17, 1925 and entering into force on February 8, 1928, it permanently bans the use of all forms of chemical and biological warfare in its single section, entitled Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. The protocol grew out of the increasing public outcry against chemical warfare following the use of mustard gas and similar agents in World War I, and fears that chemical and biological warfare could lead to horrific consequences in any future war. The protocol has since been augmented by the Biological Weapons Convention (1972) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (1993).
See also 
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Peace Conferences.|
- American Peace Society
- Command responsibility
- Hague Secret Emissary Affair
- Martens Clause
- Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project
- St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 (Declaration Renouncing the Use, in Time of War, of Explosive Projectiles Under 400 Grammes Weight)
- World Federation
- Robinson, James J., ABA Journal 46(9), p.978.
- Walther Schücking, The international union of the Hague conferences, Clarendon Press, 1918.
- The Proud Tower, page 229
- James Brown Scott, ed. (1915). The Hague conventions and declarations of 1899 and 1907.
- Signatories of Hague II (1899)
- Signatories of Hague III (1899)
- Signatories of Declaration II, Hague (1899)
- Signatories of Declaration III, Hague (1899)
- Signatories of Section I, Hague (1899) and Section I, Hague (1907)
- Signatories of Section IV, Hague (1907)
- Signatories of Declaration XIV, Hague (1907)
- Klein, Robert A. (1974), Sovereign Equality Among States: The History of an Idea, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p. 61
- (YiSeong)이성덕 ( Seong Deog Yi ) (서울국제법연구, Vol.11 No.1, ) [KCI등재]
- Avalon Project at Yale Law School on The Laws of War—Contains the full texts of both the 1899 and 1907 conventions, among other treaties.
- ICRC International Humanitarian Law - Treaties & Documents, contains full texts and ratifying states of both the 1899 and 1907 conventions, among other treaties.
- List of signatory powers of the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
- The Hague conventions and declarations of 1899 and 1907, by James Brown Scott (ed.) Contains the texts of all conventions and the ratifying countries as of 1915.
- Hudson, Manley O. (January 1931). "Present Status of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907". The American Journal of International Law 25 (1): 114–117. doi:10.2307/2189634.
- Lee, Jin Hyuck. The First Hague Peace Conference 1899 as portrayed in Punch
- Schlichtmann, Klaus (2003). "Japan, Germany and the Idea of the two Hague Peace Conferences". Journal of Peace Research 40 (4): 377–394.
- Schücking, Walther (1918). The International Union of the Hague Conferences. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.
- Trueblood, Benjamin F. (1899). The Federation of the World. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
- Robinson, James J. (September 1960). "Surprise Attack: Crime at Pearl Harbor and Now". ABA Journal 46(9). American Bar Association. p. 978.
Further reading 
- Barcroft, Stephen. "The Hague Peace Conference of 1899". Irish Studies in International Affairs 1989, Vol. 3 Issue 1, pp 55–68.
- Bettez, David J. "Unfulfilled Initiative: Disarmament Negotiations and the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907". RUSI Journal: Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, June 1988, Vol. 133 Issue 3, pp 57–62.
- Scott, James Brown, ed. The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, Vol. 1, The Conferences. (The Johns Hopkins Press 1909).
- Trueblood, Benjamin Franklin (1914). The two Hague conferences and their results. American Peace Society.
- Tuchman, Barbara (1996). The Proud Tower. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345405013.