There is general agreement that the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, while still technically in force, have been made largely obsolete by technological advance in weapons systems, communications, air power, and the ballistic missile. Yet the fundamental axiom that acts of war should not cause unnecessary or disproportionate suffering with regard to the military advantage to be gained, remains unchanged from those early conventions. What is new in the Protocols of 1977 is the added emphasis placed on the protection of the civilian population, not only in occupied areas held by the enemy, but also for the protection of civilians in the homeland. It cannot be doubted that virtually all nations accept the premise that there are legal restraints on the use of force in time of military engagements. It is in the interests of all belligerents, as well as neutral countries, to have these restraints spelled out in a formal and widely accepted agreement.
"Symposium on the 1977 Geneva Protocols,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 19
, Article 1.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol19/iss4/1