David P. Forsythe and Barbara Ann J. Rieffer-Flanagan
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has a complex position in international relations, being the guardian of international humanitarian law but often acting discretely to advance human dignity. Treated by most governments as if it were an inter-governmental organization, the ICRC is a non-governmental organization, all-Swiss at the top, and it is given rights and duties in the 1949 Geneva Conventions for Victims of War. Written by two formidable experts in the field, this book analyzes international humanitarian action as practiced by the International Red Cross, explaining its history and structure as well as examining contemporary field experience and broad diplomatic initiatives related to its principal tasks. Such tasks include: ensuring that detention conditions are humane for those imprisoned by reason of political conflict or war providing material and moral relief in conflict promoting development of the humanitarian part of the laws of war improving the unity and effectiveness of the movement.