Convention respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land [*]
Done at: The Hague
Date enacted: 1907-10-18
In force: 1910-01-26
- Chapter I - The rights and duties of neutral Powers
- Chapter II - Belligerents interned and wounded tended in neutral territory
- Chapter III - Neutral persons
- Chapter IV - Railway material
- Chapter V - Final provisions
[List of Contracting Parties omitted.]
With a view to laying down more clearly the rights and duties of neutral Powers in case of war on land and regulating the position of the belligerents who have taken refuge in neutral territory;
Being likewise desirous of defining the meaning of the term "neutral," pending the possibility of settling, in its entirety, the position of neutral individuals in their relations with the belligerents;
Have resolved to conclude a Convention to this effect, and have, in consequence, appointed the following as their Plenipotentiaries:
[Names of Plenipotentiaries omitted.]
Who, after having deposited their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following provisions:
Chapter I - The rights and duties of neutral Powers
The territory of neutral Powers is inviolable.
Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.
Belligerents are likewise forbidden to:
Erect on the territory of a neutral Power a wireless telegraphy station or other apparatus for the purpose of communicating with belligerent forces on land or sea;
Use any installation of this kind established by them before the war on the territory of a neutral Power for purely military purposes, and which has not been opened for the service of public messages.
Corps of combatants cannot be formed nor recruiting agencies opened on the territory of a neutral Power to assist the belligerents.
A neutral Power must not allow any of the acts referred to in Articles 2 to 4 to occur on its territory.
It is not called upon to punish acts in violation of its neutrality unless the said acts have been committed on its own territory.
The responsibility of a neutral Power is not engaged by the fact of persons crossing the frontier separately to offer their services to one of the belligerents.
A neutral Power is not called upon to prevent the export or transport, on behalf of one or other of the belligerents, of arms, munitions of war, or, in general, of anything which can be of use to an army or a fleet.
A neutral Power is not called upon to forbid or restrict the use on behalf of the belligerents of telegraph or telephone cables or of wireless telegraphy apparatus belonging to it or to companies or private individuals.
Every measure of restriction or prohibition taken by a neutral Power in regard to the matters referred to in Articles 7 and 8 must be impartially applied by it to both belligerents.
A neutral Power must see to the same obligation being observed by companies or private individuals owning telegraph or telephone cables or wireless telegraphy apparatus.
The fact of a neutral Power resisting, even by force, attempts to violate its neutrality cannot be regarded as a hostile act.
Chapter II - Belligerents interned and wounded tended in neutral territory
A neutral Power which receives on its territory troops belonging to the belligerent armies shall intern them, as far as possible, at a distance from the theatre of war.
It may keep them in camps and even confine them in fortresses or in places set apart for this purpose.
It shall decide whether officers can be left at liberty on giving their parole not to leave the neutral territory without permission.
In the absence of a special convention to the contrary, the neutral Power shall supply the interned with the food, clothing, and relief required by humanity.
At the conclusion of peace the expenses caused by the internment shall be made good.
A neutral Power which receives escaped prisoners of war shall leave them at liberty. If it allows them to remain in its territory it may assign them a place of residence.
The same rule applies to prisoners of war brought by troops taking refuge in the territory of a neutral Power.
A neutral Power may authorize the passage over its territory of the sick and wounded belonging to the belligerent armies, on condition that the trains bringing them shall carry neither personnel nor war material. In such a case, the neutral Power is bound to take whatever measures of safety and control are necessary for the purpose.
The sick or wounded brought under the these conditions into neutral territory by one of the belligerents, and belonging to the hostile party, must be guarded by the neutral Power so as to ensure their not taking part again in the military operations. The same duty shall devolve on the neutral State with regard to wounded or sick of the other army who may be committed to its care.
The Geneva Convention applies to sick and wounded interned in neutral territory.
Chapter III - Neutral persons
The nationals of a State which is not taking part in the war are considered as neutrals.
A neutral cannot avail himself of his neutrality
If he commits hostile acts against a belligerent;
If he commits acts in favor of a belligerent, particularly if he voluntarily enlists in the ranks of the armed force of one of the parties. In such a case, the neutral shall not be more severely treated by the belligerent as against whom he has abandoned his neutrality than a national of the other belligerent State could be for the same act.
The following acts shall not be considered as committed in favour of one belligerent in the sense of Article 17, letter (b):
Supplies furnished or loans made to one of the belligerents, provided that the person who furnishes the supplies or who makes the loans lives neither in the territory of the other party nor in the territory occupied by him, and that the supplies do not come from these territories;
Services rendered in matters of police or civil administration.
Chapter IV - Railway material
Railway material coming from the territory of neutral Powers, whether it be the property of the said Powers or of companies or private persons, and recognizable as such, shall not be requisitioned or utilized by a belligerent except where and to the extent that it is absolutely necessary. It shall be sent back as soon possible to the country of origin.
A neutral Power may likewise, in case of necessity, retain and utilize to an equal extent material coming from the territory of the belligerent Power.
Compensation shall be paid by one Party or the other in proportion to the material used, and to the period of usage.
Chapter V - Final provisions
The provisions of the present Convention do not apply except between Contracting Powers and then only if all the belligerents are Parties to the Convention.
The present Convention shall be ratified as soon as possible.
The ratifications shall be deposited at The Hague.
The first deposit of ratifications shall be recorded in a procés-verbal signed by the representatives of the Powers which take part therein and by the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The subsequent deposits of ratifications shall be made by means of a written notification, addressed to the Netherlands Government and accompanied by the instrument of ratification.
A duly certified copy of the procés-verbal relative to the first deposit of ratifications, of the notifications mentioned in the preceding paragraph, and of the instruments of ratification shall be immediately sent by the Netherlands Government, through the diplomatic channel, to the Powers invited to the Second Peace Conference as well as to the other Powers which have adhered to the Convention. In the cases contemplated in the preceding paragraph, the said Government shall at the same time inform them of the date on which it received the notification.
Non-Signatory Powers may adhere to the present Convention.
The Power which desires to adhere notifies its intention in writing to the Netherlands Government, forwarding to it the act of adhesion, which shall be deposited in the archives of the said Government.
This Government shall immediately forward to all the other Powers a duly certified copy of the notification as well as of the act of adhesion, mentioning the date on which it received the notification.
The present Convention shall come into force, in the case of the Powers which were a Party to the first deposit of ratifications, sixty days after the date of the procés-verbal of this deposit, and, in the case of the Powers which ratify subsequently or which adhere, sixty days after the notification of their ratification or of their adhesion has been received by the Netherlands Government.
In the event of one of the Contracting Powers wishing to denounce the present Convention, the denunciation shall be notified in writing to the Netherlands Government, which shall immediately communicate a duly certified copy of the notification to all the other Powers, informing them at the same time of the date on which it was received.
The denunciation shall only have effect in regard to the notifying Power, and one year after the notification has reached the Netherlands Government.
A register kept by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall give the date of the deposit of ratifications made in virtue of Article 21, paragraphs 3 and 4, as well as the date on which the notifications of adhesion (Article 22, paragraph 2) or of denunciation (Article 24, paragraph 1) have been received.
Each Contracting Power is entitled to have access to this register and to be supplied with duly certified extracts from it.
In faith whereof the Plenipotentiaries have appended their signatures to the present Convention.
Done at The Hague, 18 October 1907, in a single copy, which shall remain deposited in the archives of the Netherlands Government and duly certified copies of which shall be sent, through the diplomatic channel, to the Powers which have been invited to the Second Peace Conference.
Section V of the 1907 Hague Conventions.