History and International Law
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History and International Law

An Intertwined Relationship

Edited by Annalisa Ciampi

This incisive book unveils and illuminates the relationship between international law and history, providing examples from a wide range of domains of global governance. With particular reference to international human rights, humanitarian and criminal law, leading scholars and practitioners in international law, history and diplomacy offer original analysis and innovative paradigms of cross-interdisciplinary research in the field.
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Chapter 5: ’Treaty after trauma’: 'protection for all' in the Fourth Geneva Convention

Gilad Ben-Nun


This chapter examines how the drafters of the Fourth Geneva Convention for Civilians (‘GC-IV’) extended its ratione personae so that no person could be beyond its basic protective scope, as implied by the provisions of its Common Article 3. Based upon hitherto unpublished sources from French, Bulgarian, ICRC and World Jewish Congress archives, it traces the evolvement of the ‘protection for all’ principle, from the Civilian Convention’s very first blueprint uncovered here, through the World Jewish Congress’ interventions on behalf of civilians targeted by their own governments in 1948 in Stockholm, and up to the Soviet bloc’s unwavering support for this idea at the 1949 Geneva Conference of Plenipotentiaries. Correspondingly, this chapter recalibrates our understanding of the paramount role played by the Soviet bloc in the securement of Common Article 3’s provisions and refutes a commonly-held perception that the Soviet participation in GC-IV’s drafting was solely intended for propaganda purposes.

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