|International | International treaties adherence
The United Kingdom is party to most international criminal, human rights, humanitarian and refugee law treaties.
| Treaty List
|International Humanitarian Law ||Adherence date||Commentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)|
(...) has the honour to declare, on behalf of the UK Government, that its ratification of Additional Protocols shall be extended to the following territories for whose international relations it is responsible:
Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory ; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Montserrat; Pitcairn; Henderson; Ducie and Oeno Islands; St Helena and Dependencies; South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands ; Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia; Turks and Caicos Islands(...)
[idem for Declaration article 90}
(...) The UK Government reserves the right to extend its ratification of Additional protocols and/or its declaration in respect of the recognition of competence of the International Fact-Finding Commission at a later date to any other territories for whose international relations the UK Government is responsible.
"(...) I also have the honour to lodge with the Government of the Swiss Federation, as the depository of Additional Protocol I the following statements in respect of the ratification by the UK of that Protocol:
(a) It continues to be the understanding of the United Kingdom that the rules introduced by the Protocol apply exclusively to conventional weapons without prejudice to any other rules of international law applicable to other types of weapons. In particular, the rules so introduced do not have any effect on and do not regulate or prohibit the use of nuclear weapons.
(b) The United Kingdom understands the term "feasible" as used in the Protocol to mean that which is practicable or practically possible, taking into account all circumstances ruling at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations.
(c) Military commanders and others responsible for planning, deciding upon, or executing attacks necessarily have to reach decisions on the basis of their assessment of the information from all sources which is reasonably available to them at the relevant time.
(d) Re: ARTICLE 1, paragraph 4 and ARTICLE 96, paragraph 3
It is the understanding of the UK that the term "armed conflict" of itself and in its context denotes a situation of a kind which is not constituted by the commission of ordinary crimes including acts of terrorism whether concerted or in isolation.
The UK will not, in relation to any situation in which it is itself involved, consider itself bound in consequence of any declaration purporting to be made under paragraph 3 of Article 96 unless the UK shall have expressly recognised that it has been made by a body which is genuinely an authority representing a people engaged in an armed conflict of the type to which Article 1, paragraph 4, applies.
(e) Re: ARTICLE 28, paragraph 2
Given the practical need to make use of non-dedicated aircraft for medical evacuation purposes, the United Kingdom does not interpret this paragraph as precluding the presence on board of communications equipment and encryption materials or the use thereof solely to facilitate navigation, identification or communication in support of medical transportation as defined in Article 8(f).
(f) Re: ARTICLE 35, paragraph 3 and ARTICLE 55
The UK understands both of these provisions to cover the employment of methods and means of warfare and that the risk of environmental damage falling within the scope of these provisions arising from such methods and means of warfare is to be assessed objectively on the basis of the information available at the time.
(g) Re ARTICLE 44, paragraph 3
It is the understanding of the UK that:
- the situation in the second sentence of paragraph 3 can only exist in occupied territory or in armed conflicts covered by paragraph 4 of Article 1;
- "deployment" in paragraph 3(b) means any movement towards a place from which an attack is to be launched.
(h) Re: ARTICLE 50
In the view of the UK the rule in the second sentence of paragraph 1 applies only in cases of substantial doubt still remaining after the assessment referred to at paragraph (c) above has been made, and not as overriding a commander's duty to protect the safety of troops under his command or to preserve his military situation, in conformity with other provisions of the Protocol.
(i) Re: ARTICLE 51 and ARTICLE 57
In the view of the UK, the military advantage anticipated from an attack is intended to refer to the advantage anticipated from the attack considered as a whole and not only from isolated or particular parts of the attack.
(j) Re: ARTICLE 52
It is the understanding of the UK that:
- a specific area of land may be a military objective if, because of its location or other reasons specified in this Article, its total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation in the circumstances ruling at the time offers definite military advantage;
- the first sentence of paragraph 2 prohibits only such attacks as may be directed against non-military objectives; it does not deal with the question of collateral damage resulting from attacks directed against military objectives.
(k) Re: ARTICLE 53
The UK declares that if the objects protected by this Article are unlawfully used for military purposes they will thereby lose protection from attacks directed against such unlawful military uses.
(l) Re: ARTICLE 54, paragraph 2
The UK understands that paragraph 2 has no application to attacks that are carried out for a specific purpose other than denying sustenance to the civilian population or the adverse party.
(m) Re: ARTICLE 51 - 55
The obligations of Articles 51 and 55 are accepted on the basis that any adverse party against which the UK might be engaged will itself scrupulously observe those obligations. If an adverse party makes serious and deliberate attacks, in violation of Article 51 or Article 52 against the civilian population or civilians or against civilian objects, or, in violation of Articles 53, 54 and 55, on objects or items protected by those Articles, the UK will regard itself as entitled to take measures otherwise prohibited by the Articles in question to the extent that it considers such measures necessary for the sole purpose of compelling the adverse party to cease committing violations under those Articles, but only after formal warning to the adverse party requiring cessation of the violations has been disregarded and then only after a decision taken at the highest level of government. Any measures thus taken by the UK will not be disproportionate to the violations giving rise there to and will not involve any action prohibited by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 nor will such measures be continued after the violations have ceased. The UK will notify the Protecting Powers of any such formal warning given to an adverse party, and if that warning has been disregarded, of any measures taken as a result.
(n) Re: ARTICLE 56 and 85, paragraph 3c
The UK cannot undertake to grant absolute protection to installations which may contribute to the opposing Party's war effort, or to the defenders of such installations, but will take all due precautions in military operations at or near the installations referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 56 in the light of the known facts, including any special marking which the installation may carry, to avoid sever collateral losses among the civilian populations; direct attacks on such installations will be launched only on authorisation at a high level of command.
(o) Re: ARTICLE 57, paragraph 2:
The UK understands that the obligation to comply with paragraph 2(b) only extends to those who have the authority and practical possibility to cancel or suspend the attack.
(p) Re: ARTICLE 70
It is the understanding of the UK that this Article does not affect the existing rules of naval warfare regarding naval blockade, submarine warfare or mine warfare.
|--||Signature only on 30.12.54.|
|International Human rights Law ||Adherence date||Commentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)|
|10.12.99 || |
|17.12.04 || |
|10.12.03 || |
|Weapons ||Adherence date||Commentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)|
|26.03.75||Declaration made concerning its depositary functions: "In a statement dated 27 April 1972, communicated to all States recognised by the United Kingdom, Her Majesty's Government recalled their view that if a régime is not recognised as the Government of a State, neither signature nor the deposit of any instrument by it, nor notification of any of those acts will bring about recognition of that régime by any other State."|
Upon ratification, inter alia:
(i) The term "armed conflict" of itself and in its context denotes a situation of a kind which is not constituted by the Commission of ordinary crimes, including acts of terrorism, whether concerted or in isolation.
(ii) The UK will not, in relation to any situation in which it is involved, consider itself bound in consequence of any declaration purporting to be made for the purposes of article 7 (4), unless the UK shall have expressly recognised that it has been made by a body which is genuinely and authority representing a people engaged in an armed conflict of the type to which that paragraph applies.
(iii) The terms "civilian" and "civilian population" have the same meaning as in article 50 of the 1st Additional Protocol of 1977 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Convention unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.
(iv) Military commanders and others responsible for planning, deciding upon, or executing attacks necessarily have to reach decisions on the basis of their assessment of the information from all sources which is reasonably available to them at the relevant time.
|13.02.95 || |
|13.02.95 || |
|13.02.95 || |
It is the understanding of the Government of the UK that the mere participation in the planning or execution of operations, exercises or other military activity by the United Kingdom's Armed Forces, or individual UK nationals, conducted in combination with the armed forces of States not party to the [said Convention], which engage in activity prohibited under that Convention, is not, by itself, assistance, encouragement or inducement for the purposes of Article 1, paragraph (c) of the Convention.
| 04.05.10|| |
|Refugees ||Adherence date||Commentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)|
The UK understands Articles 8 and 9 as not preventing them from taking in time of war or other grave and exceptional circumstances measures in the interests of national security in the case of a refugee on the ground of his nationality.
|International criminal law ||Adherence date||Commentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)|
The UK understands the term "the established framework of international law", used in article 8 (2) (b) and (e), to include customary international law as established by State practice and opinio iuris. In that context the UK confirms and draws to the attention of the Court its views as expressed, inter alia, in its statements made on ratification of relevant instruments of international law, including the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12th August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) of 8th June 1977.
|Terrorism ||Adherence date||Commentary (including relevant reservations, derogations and declarations)|