Nordic Launch of the Updated Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention

Photo by G. Bassignac - Gulf War : The 'Division Daguet' On February 26th, 1991 In Iraq
Prisoners of War – ‘Division Daguet’ on 26 February 1991 in Iraq, photo by Gilles Bassignac / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The Nordic Launch of the updated Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War will take place in Copenhagen on 17 September 2021. It will bring together internationally renowned experts as well as practitioners from the Nordic region, including from Red Cross societies, ministries of foreign affairs and defence, and state armed forces. The event will be the second in a series of Nordic launches of the updated Commentaries, following the launch of the Commentary on the First Geneva Convention in Stockholm.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Anu Saarela (Deputy Director General, Legal Service, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs)
  • Camilla Guldahl Cooper (Associate Professor, Norwegian Defence University College)
  • Carl Magnus Nesser (Director General for Legal Affairs, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs)
  • Jann Kleffner (Professor of International Law, Swedish Defence University)
  • Jean-Marie Henckaerts (Head of the Commentaries Update Unit, ICRC)
  • Jes Rynkeby Knudsen (Chief Legal Advisor, Defence Command Denmark)
  • Marco Sassòli (Professor of International Law, University of Geneva)
  • Ulf Melgaard (Director for International Law and Human Rights, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Sorcha MacLeod (Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, and UNWG on Mercenaries)


Nordic Launch of the Updated Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention (pdf).


Biographies of the Speakers, Chairs and Organisers.


In 2011, the ICRC and a team of renowned experts embarked on a major project: updating the Commentaries on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. The new Commentaries seek to document developments, learning from experiences and provide up-to-date interpretations of the law. The updated Commentaries on the First Geneva Convention and on the Second Geneva Convention were published in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

This event marks the publication of the updated Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention (GC III). The basic obligation to treat prisoners of war humanely and to respect their person and honour underpins the protective framework of GC III. The Convention outlines these fundamental principles and provides a detailed protective framework addressing inter alia the taking of prisoners into captivity, internment conditions, the use of prisoner-of-law labour, relations with the exterior, procedures for disciplinary or judicial proceedings and final release and repatriation. The updated Commentary seeks to reflect how practice has evolved in the application and interpretation of GC III since its adoption, while preserving those elements of the original Commentary that are still relevant.


Participation in the conference is free of charge and open for all. It will be held as an in-person (physical) event. However, virtual participation will also be possible via an online link, which will be made available to all registered participants prior to the conference.

Please use this registration form no later than 15 September 2021, 10:00.

For registration inquiries please contact, for any other inquiries please contact