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International Journalism
Geneva Conventions
War Journalism Resources
Fact Sheet on Foreign Press Credentials

International Journalism Committee Chair

Ricardo Sandoval
Assistant City Editor
Sacramento Bee
Bio (click to expand) picture Ricardo Sandoval is Assistant City Editor at the Sacramento Bee newspaper. He supervises the paper’s environment, science and regional development teams of reporters. Before joining The Bee, Sandoval was a foreign correspondent, based in Mexico City, for the Dallas Morning News and Knight Ridder Newspapers. Sandoval was born in Mexico and raised in San Diego, California. He graduated with a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in Northern California. His career has spanned three decades and has included award-winning coverage of California agriculture, immigration, the savings and loan scandal and the deregulation of public utility companies. His list of awards includes the Overseas Press Club, the InterAmerican Press Club, the Gerald Loeb prize for business journalism and two honors from the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Sandoval co-authored — with his wife, journalist Susan Ferriss — the biography “The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement” published in 1997 by Harcourt.

Ronnie Lovler, vice chair
Bio (click to expand) picture Ronnie Lovler is associate director of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University. She is also senior writer for the nonprofit, and its public-interest news service, “News You Might Have Missed”. In addition to serving as international committee chair, Ronnie is a member of the executive board of the northern California chapter of SPJ. Ronnie taught journalism at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida before moving to San Francisco.

Ronnie’s journalism career spans several decades. She served as bureau chief and correspondent for CNN in Latin America for almost 10 years. During her time at CNN, she reported from every country in Latin America. She also worked for CBS News, The Weather Channel and The Associated Press, as well as The San Juan Star in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was part of a team of observers headed by President Jimmy Carter monitoring electoral processes in Nicaragua (2001) and Venezuela (2004). During the 2005 U.S. hurricane season, Ms. Lovler worked with the American Red Cross as a volunteer crisis communicator and public information officer. She received her undergraduate degree from Ohio State University and her graduate degree in communications at the University of Florida.

Home > International Journalism > Reference Guide to the Geneva Conventions > How to Use this Guide

Reference Guide to the Geneva Conventions
How to Use this Guide

Geneva Conventions:
A Reference Guide

About the Guide
Alphabetical Index
Conventions Texts
     I | II | III | IV | PI | PII

Author's Note
Order a Copy

Image of original document of the first Geneva Convention from 1864 courtesy Kevin Quinn, Ohio, US; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license

The Alphabetical Reference that begins on the next page covers the most common issues that arise with regard to the treatment of the wounded, prisoners of war, and civilians in international conflicts or some civil wars.

Each entry includes the specific convention that addresses that topic, and where in the convention it is addressed.

Please note that the Conventions are extremely detailed, going as far as to stipulate the exact measurements of identity papers. In order to keep the Alphabetical Reference to a reasonable length, a great deal of detail was left out.

However, a reader interested in more information will be able to look up the original reference or references.

The Geneva Conventions are variously divided into Parts, Chapters, Sections, Articles and untitled subdivisions within Articles. In the Alphabetical Reference, the term "Sec." refers to a numbered subdivision within an Article. So, for example, Protocol I, Art. 51, Sec. 5b refers to the fifth subdivision, item b, in Article 51 of Protocol I.


By John Hopkins
Former Chair, SPJ International Journalism Committee

In this year's bloody film spectacle The Patriot, movie-goers are shown several examples of what today would be called crimes of war. Whether the British cavalry leader Banastre Tarleton ever slaughtered the wounded or Đ and I seriously doubt this – burned villagers in their house of worship, we do know that he was shunned by his fellow officers after the British surrender, because of his savage zeal against the Colonials in North and South Carolina. History, if not Hollywood, shows us that humankind's quest for the rules of fighting fair goes back for centuries.

Long before musket, machine gun or mustard gas appeared on the world's battlefields, ambassadors and some generals tried to bring a measure of civility into warfare. Among the greatest achievements of this effort are the Geneva Conventions of 1949, product of a century of diplomacy and a compelling wave of revulsion as the social and spiritual cost of modern warfare, demonstrated by two world wars, began to be reckoned. Those treaties are almost universally revered and almost nowhere understood. And we need to understand them. Bosnia showed that, and so did Rwanda.

You can find the treaties in most good libraries, but an unfamiliar reader may easily feel that he needs an international lawyer to get through them. That, our committee believes, is one reason journalists have neglected both the potential and the failures of the treaties to curb the inhumanity of race or tribe or creed set one against another. 

This guide, made possible by a grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, means to make these important documents accessible to reporters in the field and to their busy editors.

Copyright © 2003 Maria Trombly. All rights reserved.

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