St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868


St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868

St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 or in full Declaration Renouncing the Use, in Time of War, of Explosive Projectiles Under 400 Grammes Weight is an international treaty agreed in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, November 29 / December 11, 1868. It succeeded the First Geneva Convention of 1864. It was a predecessor of the well-known Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.

It was signed by the members of the International Military Commission convened for this purpose in the presence of the Imperial Cabinet of Russia.

Contents

History

Upon the invitation of the Russian diplomat and statesman Prince Alexander Gorchakov, for the purpose of considering the existing rules of war, a conference of delegates met at Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire in December, 1868.

The nations represented were Austria-Hungary, Bavaria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain (representing the British Empire), Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, the North German Confederation (i.e., Greater Prussia), Russia, Sweden and Norway, Switzerland, the Ottoman Empire, and Württemberg.[1] The United States, not considered a major power at the time, was not invited, took no part in the convention, and has never acceded to it.

The delegates affirmed that the only legitimate object of war should be to weaken the military force of the enemy, which could be sufficiently accomplished by the employment of highly destructive weapons. With that fact established, the delegates agreed to prohibit the use of less deadly explosives that might merely injure the combatants and thereby create prolonged suffering of such combatants.

The Great Powers agreed to renounce, in case of war among themselves, the use of any explosive projectile of less weight than 400 grams (14 ounces avoirdupois) or one charged with fulminating or inflammable substances.

While the declaration bans the use of fragmenting, explosive, or incendiary small arms ammunition, it does not prohibit such ammunition for use in autocannon or artillery rounds.

The influence of this declaration on international humanitarian law were elucidated in Ryuichi Shimoda et al. v. The State (1963)

... International law of war is not formulated simply on the basis of humanitarian feelings. It has as its basis both considerations of military necessity and effectiveness and humanitarian considerations, and is formulated on a balance of these two factors. To illustrate this, an example often cited in the textbooks may be given, of the provisions of the St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 prohibiting the use of projectiles under 400 grammes which are either explosive or charged with combustible or inflammable substances. The reason for the prohibition is explained as follows: such projectiles are small and just powerful enough to kill or wound only one man, and as an ordinary bullet will do for this purpose, there is no overriding need for using these inhuman weapons. On the other hand, the use of a certain weapon, great as its inhuman result may be, need not be prohibited by international law if it has a great military effect.[2]

Notes

  • Ammunition for anti-materiel rifles and heavy machine-guns with a bore of about 12.7 mm to 14.5 mm in diameter straddle the definition between small arms and heavy weapons. Large-bore rifles using high-explosive or incendiary rounds run the risk of violating the Declaration despite the legal use (as specified in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907) of such special munitions in heavy machineguns and autocannons. The discussion of their legality often revolves around the weight limitation and whether it applies to the weight of the bullet itself or to the entire fixed cartridge.
  • The distinction between "explosive" and "fulminating" bullets is academic but important.
    • An "explosive" bullet contains an explosive filler that detonates on impact.
    • A "fulminating" bullet contains a small unstable high explosive charge and is designed to shatter into fragments after impact or inside the wound. They also have the added potential of detonating when jarred or while being removed, complicating first aid or surgery.
  • The Declaration bans such munitions during wars only among the co-signatory European and Eurasian nations. It notably leaves out instances of war with non-signatory nations, conflicts with undeveloped nations, or military operations in their own colonies and possessions.

External links

Footnotes

  1. ^ Stuart Maslen, Anti-Personnel Mines under Humanitarian Law: a view from the vanishing point, p12, Intersentia nv, 2001
  2. ^ Shimoda Ryuichi Shimoda et al. v. The State Section:Evaluation of the act of bombing according to international law: point (11):second paragraph

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Treaty of Saint Petersburg — There are several treaties that are called Treaty of Saint Petersburg or Treaty of St. Petersburg. This page also refers to the treaties that were concluded while the city was known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). The… …   Wikipedia

  • Convention of St Petersburg — The Convention of St Petersburg may refer to several diplomatic agreements including Convention of Saint Petersburg, a 1747 treaty between Russia, Britain and the Dutch Republic St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868, a convention renouncing the… …   Wikipedia

  • Erklärung von St. Petersburg — Die Petersburger Erklärung, auch Petersburger Konvention, vom 11. Dezember 1868 ist ein völkerrechtlicher Vertrag über ein Verbot von Sprenggranaten mit einem Gewicht von unter 400 Gramm. Die Initiative zum Abschluss der Konvention ging vom… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Petersburger Konferenz von 1868 — Die Petersburger Erklärung, auch Petersburger Konvention, vom 11. Dezember 1868 ist ein völkerrechtlicher Vertrag über ein Verbot von Sprenggranaten mit einem Gewicht von unter 400 Gramm. Die Initiative zum Abschluss der Konvention ging vom… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Finnish famine of 1866–1868 — Illustration of starvation in northern Sweden, Finnish famine of 1866–1868 The Famine of 1866–1868 was the last famine in Finland and northern Sweden, and the last major naturally caused famine in Europe. In Finland the famine is known as the… …   Wikipedia

  • Raufoss Mk 211 — The Raufoss Mk.211 round The Raufoss Mk 211 is a .50 caliber (12.7x99mm NATO) multipurpose anti matériel projectile produced by Nammo (Nordic Ammunition Group, a Norwegian/Finnish military industry manufacturer of ammunition), under the model… …   Wikipedia

  • Cañón QF de 1 libra — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Cañón QF de 1 libra Mark I y II Un cañón Mk II de 1903 en el Imperial War Museum de Londres. Tipo …   Wikipedia Español

  • QF 1 pounder pom-pom — Not to be confused with the QF 2 pounder naval gun also known as the pom pom. QF 1 pdr Mark I II ( pom pom ) Mk II gun dated 1903, on anti aircraft mounting, at the Imperial War Museum, London …   Wikipedia

  • Hollow-point bullet — A hollow point is a bullet that has a pit or hollowed out shape in its tip, generally intended to cause the bullet to expand upon entering a target in order to decrease penetration and disrupt more tissue as it travels through the target. As a… …   Wikipedia

  • Neville Bertie-Clay — Died 17 October 1938 Allegiance United Kingdom …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.