The International Committee of the Red Cross and its Development Since 1945
The history of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is closely tied to that of Switzerland, and as a consequence of two world wars the relation became especially intimate. To this day the ICRC president is generally a former Swiss diplomat, and the 20 individuals constituting the actual Committee are still exclusively Swiss. Times are changing, however. During the Cold War, and particularly since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world outside and inside the ICRC has evolved. The ICRC was created to function in classical wars among state actors. Today, such wars are rare and the ICRC is experiencing the difficulties encountered by all agencies engaged in international conflict management. The internal ICRC dynamics are also changing and, most particularly, the ICRC is increasingly becoming an actor in its own right. The purpose of this article is to look more closely at the evolution of the ICRC’s mission and, most particulary, to trace the changing nature of its relation to Swiss foreign policy.
KeywordsInternational Criminal Court International Committee Rome Statute Geneva Convention Occupied Territory
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- 1.On the history of the ICRC see in particular François Bugnion, Le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge et la protection des victimes de la guerre (Genève: CICR, 1994). An English version of this book will be published in 2003: The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Protection of War Victims (Houndmills, Basingstoke: ICRC and Macmillan, forthcoming)Google Scholar
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