2006—Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 109–366, § 6(b)(1)(A), added par. (3) and struck out former par. (3) which read as follows: “which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or”.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 109–366, § 6(b)(1)(B), added subsec. (d).
2002—Subsecs. (a) to (c). Pub. L. 107–273 made technical correction to directory language of Pub. L. 105–118, § 583. See 1997 Amendment notes below.
1997—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 105–118, § 583(1), as amended by Pub. L. 107–273, substituted “war crime” for “grave breach of the Geneva Conventions”.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 105–118, § 583(2), as amended by Pub. L. 107–273, substituted “war crime” for “breach” in two places.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 105–118, § 583(3), as amended by Pub. L. 107–273, amended subsec. (c) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (c) read as follows:
“(c) Definitions.—As used in this section, the term ‘grave breach of the Geneva Conventions’ means conduct defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions relating to the laws of warfare signed at Geneva 12 August 1949 or any protocol to any such convention, to which the United States is a party.”
1996—Pub. L. 104–294 renumbered section 2401 of this title as this section.
Effective Date of 2006 Amendment
Pub. L. 109–366, § 6(b)(2), Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2635, provided that:
“The amendments made by this subsection [amending this section], except as specified in subsection (d)(2)(E) of section 2441 of title 18
, United States
Code, shall take effect as of November 26, 1997
, as if enacted immediately after the amendments made by section 583 of Public Law 105–118
[amending this section] (as amended by section 4002(e)(7) of Public Law 107–273
Implementation of Treaty Obligations
Pub. L. 109–366, § 6(a), Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2632, provided that:
“(2) Prohibition on grave breaches.—
The provisions of section 2441 of title 18
, United States
Code, as amended by this section, fully satisfy the obligation under Article 129 of the Third Geneva Convention for the United States
to provide effective penal sanctions for grave breaches which are encompassed in common Article 3 in the context of an armed conflict not of an international character. No foreign or international source of law shall supply a basis for a rule of decision in the courts of the United States
in interpreting the prohibitions enumerated in subsection (d) of such section 2441.
“(3) Interpretation by the president.—
As provided by the Constitution and by this section, the President has the authority for the United States
to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and to promulgate higher standards and administrative regulations for violations of treaty
obligations which are not grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
The President shall issue interpretations described by subparagraph (A) by Executive Order published in the Federal Register.
Any Executive Order published under this paragraph shall be authoritative (except as to grave breaches of common Article 3) as a matter of United States
law, in the same manner as other administrative regulations.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the constitutional functions and responsibilities of Congress
and the judicial branch of the United States.
“(4) Definitions.—In this subsection:
“(A) Geneva conventions.—The term ‘Geneva Conventions’ means—
the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, done at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3217);
the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick, and Shipwrecked Members of the Armed Forces at Sea, done at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3217);
the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners
of War, done at Geneva August 12, 1949
(6 UST 3316); and
the Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons
in Time of War, done at Geneva August 12, 1949
(6 UST 3516).
“(B) Third geneva convention.—
The term ‘Third Geneva Convention’ means the international convention referred to in subparagraph (A)(iii).”
Executive Order No. 13440
Ex. Ord. No. 13440, July 20, 2007, 72 F.R. 40707, which interpreted the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3 as applied to a program of detention and interrogation operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, was revoked by Ex. Ord. No. 13491, § 1, Jan. 22, 2009, 74 F.R. 4893, set out as a note under section 2000dd of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.