International Review of the Red Cross

20th Anniversary of the 1977 Additional Protocols

Comments on Protocol I

Yoram Dinstein

Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 is a product of the mid-1970s. It reflects the then-prevailing Zeitgeist: the confrontational mentality of the Cold War; the defiance of the West by a suddenly assertive and temporarily united “Third World”; the tendencies on the part of an entrenched majority in international organizations and forums to show no tolerance for the dissenting voices of a large and influential minority; and the cynical sacrifice of good sense (and good law) on the altar of political expediency.