This is a 28-minute educational film explaining the history and the relevance of the Geneva Conventions the so called Laws of War (International Humanitarian Law). I produced this video for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and it is used in military academies world-wide.
It was a major challenge to find archive footage about wars covering the whole 20th century and to develop a concise but neutral point of view.
This project gave me a great opportunity to reflect on many personnel experiences in different conflict zones around the world. Despite all the continuing horrors of wars it's very reassuring to discover how the international community is trying to define limits to wars. Of course it's an eternal uphill struggle and the Geneva Conventions are far too often violated. Nevertheless, the vast majority of countries accept the necessity of rules to limit the damage of wars, the so called Humanitarian Law. It defines the difference between anarchy and civilisation, help to resolve conflicts and lays the foundation of humanity's conscience.
Recent additions to the Geneva Conventions are the ban of anti-personal mines in the 2007 Ottawa treaty and the ban of cluster bombs in the 2008 Oslo treaty.
Working for the ICRC was much more complex than a normal TV production because we had to be very careful with facts and maintain a totally unbiased approach. To explain the history of the Geneva Conventions within 30 minutes was quite a tall order. First I had to do the research, study the history of warfare since the 19th Century and find good examples of conflicts that represent the different development stages of the Laws of War. In a second stage I had to do extensive archive research to compile the best film material. I also had to find a series of experts and film several interviews. The final script was eventually written by my colleague Gwynne Roberts ( rwfilms.co.uk ) and he also recorded the voice over.