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International Journalism Committee
The International Journalism Committee works to improve and protect international journalism and encourage the free practice of journalism in all countries.

For the purposes of this committee, international journalism is defined as any journalism that involves foreign journalists, that takes place overseas, or that deals with international affairs.

To improve international journalism, the committee will do some or all of the following:

— Write articles about international journalism for Quill.
— Put together a panel on a topic related to international journalism at the annual convention.
— Lend assistance to journalists when they ask for our help, both American and foreign, to the extent we are able to do so.
— Create resources of use to international journalists and make them available via the Web, printed guidebooks, or other means to both foreign and American journalists.
— Find ways to bring foreign journalists to the U.S. and American journalists overseas for fellowships, conferences, and other educational purposes.

To protect international journalism, the committee will do some or all of the following:

— Draft press releases and letters on behalf of international journalism or international journalists.
— Lobby Congress in favor of measures that support international journalism.
— Work with other organizations on international projects related to freedom of speech, freedom of information, and similar issues.
— Act as a watchdog on U.S. government agencies that may attempt to restrict international journalism.

Are you interested in serving on the committee? Please contact our committee chairs to find out how you can help.

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
E-mail
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 Newsdesk.org, 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 > A Brief History of the Laws of War

Reference Guide to the Geneva Conventions
A Brief History of the Laws of War

Geneva Conventions:
A Reference Guide

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

Author's Note
Resources/Links
Contacts
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

Attempts to put limits on wartime behavior have been around since the beginning of recorded history and there have been numerous attempts to codify the rules of appropriate military conduct.

In the sixth century BCE, Chinese warrior Sun Tzu suggested putting limits on the way that wars were conducted.

Around 200 BCE, the notion of war crimes as such appeared in the Hindu code of Manu.

In 1305, the Scottish national hero Sir William Wallace was tried for the wartime murder of civilians.

Hugo Grotius wrote "On the Law of War and Peace" in 1625, focusing on the humanitarian treatment of civilians.

In 1865, Confederate officer Henry Wirz was executed for murdering Federal prisoners of war at the Andersonville prisoner of war camp. He was only one of several people who were tried for similar offenses.

In fact, it's been the past century and a half that has really seen a qualitative jump in the degree to which constraints have been placed on warring parties, and only this century that an international body has been formed to police the nations of the world.

The first Geneva Convention was signed in 1864 to protect the sick and wounded in war time. This first Geneva Convention was inspired by Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross. Ever since then, the Red Cross has played an integral part in the drafting and enforcement of the Geneva Conventions.

These included the 1899 treaties, concerning asphyxiating gases and expanding bullets. In 1907, 13 separate treaties were signed, followed in 1925 by the Geneva Gas Protocol, which prohibited the use of poison gas and the practice of bacteriological warfare.

In 1929, two more Geneva Conventions dealt with the treatment of the wounded and prisoners of war. In 1949, four Geneva Conventions extended protections to those shipwrecked at sea and to civilians.

The Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property was signed in 1954, the United Nations Convention on Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Techniques followed in 1977, together with two Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, extending their protections to civil wars.

There is no one "Geneva Convention." Like any other body of law, the laws of war have been assembled piecemeal, and are, in fact, still under construction.

It is impossible to produce a complete and up-to-date list of war crimes. Even today, weapon systems such as land mines are being debated at the highest levels of international policy.

What follows is a basic reference to the most common protections and prohibitions, as provided for in the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the two 1977 protocols.

Copyright © 2003 Maria Trombly. All rights reserved.

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