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New York Convention vs. Geneva Convention: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 23, 2023
The New York Convention is a treaty for recognizing and enforcing international arbitration awards, while the Geneva Convention consists of treaties on humanitarian treatment in war.

Key Differences

The New York Convention, officially the "Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards," was adopted in 1958 in New York. It establishes a framework for the enforcement of international arbitration awards. The Geneva Convention, on the other hand, refers to a series of treaties formulated in Geneva, primarily focused on humanitarian treatment during war, with the first adopted in 1864 and later ones in the 20th century.
The New York Convention is pivotal in the field of international commercial arbitration, providing a standardized legal framework for enforcing arbitration agreements and awards across its member states. In contrast, the Geneva Convention sets out international legal standards for humane treatment in war, covering the protection of wounded soldiers, prisoners of war, and civilians.
As of the 21st century, the New York Convention has been ratified by a significant number of countries, making it a cornerstone of international arbitration. The Geneva Convention, comprising four treaties and three additional protocols, has a widespread global acceptance and forms the core of international humanitarian law.
The application of the New York Convention is primarily in the context of international business disputes and commercial arbitration. The Geneva Convention, conversely, is applied in scenarios of armed conflicts, providing rules that protect people who are not or no longer participating in hostilities.
In essence, while the New York Convention facilitates international business and trade by ensuring the enforceability of arbitration awards, the Geneva Convention seeks to mitigate the horrors of war and safeguard human rights in conflict situations.

Comparison Chart


International arbitration and enforcement
Humanitarian law in armed conflicts


1958 in New York
First adopted in 1864 in Geneva


Business disputes and commercial arbitration
Treatment of wounded, POWs, and civilians in war

Global Acceptance

Ratified by a large number of countries
Widespread acceptance and forms core of humanitarian law

Primary Role

Standardizing enforcement of arbitration awards
Setting legal standards for humane treatment in war

New York Convention and Geneva Convention Definitions

New York Convention

A key treaty in international commercial law.
The New York Convention has streamlined resolving cross-border business disputes.

Geneva Convention

Addresses the humane treatment of prisoners of war.
The Geneva Convention stipulates the rights and treatment of POWs.

New York Convention

Facilitates international arbitration by providing a mechanism for enforcing awards.
The company sought enforcement of the arbitration award under the New York Convention.

Geneva Convention

Includes provisions for the wounded and sick in armed forces.
Medical personnel in warzones are protected under the Geneva Convention.

New York Convention

A critical tool for resolving international business disputes.
The New York Convention plays a crucial role in international dispute resolution.

Geneva Convention

A series of treaties forming the core of international humanitarian law.
The Geneva Convention is fundamental to modern humanitarian law.

New York Convention

Widely ratified for its importance in international trade.
The New York Convention's widespread ratification underscores its importance in global commerce.

Geneva Convention

Protects non-combatants in armed conflicts.
The Geneva Convention sets forth the protection of civilians during wartime.

New York Convention

Ensures recognition of foreign arbitral awards.
Under the New York Convention, the arbitral award was recognized internationally.

Geneva Convention

Establishes rules for humanitarian treatment in war.
The treatment of prisoners of war is governed by the Geneva Convention.


How many Geneva Conventions are there?

There are four Geneva Conventions, adopted between 1864 and 1949, with additional protocols.

What is the New York Convention?

The New York Convention is a treaty for recognizing and enforcing international arbitration awards.

When was the New York Convention adopted?

The New York Convention was adopted in 1958.

What does the Geneva Convention cover?

The Geneva Convention covers humanitarian treatment in war, including the protection of wounded soldiers and civilians.

Which countries are parties to the New York Convention?

Over 160 countries are parties to the New York Convention.

What is the purpose of the Geneva Conventions?

They aim to ensure humane treatment in war, protecting those not participating in hostilities.

How does the New York Convention aid in dispute resolution?

It provides a uniform legal framework for enforcing arbitration agreements and awards across borders.

What kind of disputes does the New York Convention address?

It addresses disputes in international commercial and business arbitration.

Does the New York Convention apply to domestic arbitration?

No, it specifically applies to international arbitration awards.

What is the significance of the New York Convention in international trade?

It is crucial for ensuring the enforcement of international arbitration awards, facilitating smooth international business transactions.

Can civilians seek protection under the Geneva Convention?

Yes, the Geneva Conventions provide rules for the protection of civilians in war zones.

Are the Geneva Conventions part of international law?

Yes, they are key components of international humanitarian law.

Do the Geneva Conventions apply to non-state actors?

While primarily aimed at states, non-state actors are also expected to adhere to humanitarian principles.

Is adherence to the New York Convention mandatory for signatory states?

Yes, signatory states are obliged to enforce arbitration agreements and awards per the Convention's rules.

Can the New York Convention be used to enforce any arbitration award?

It can be used to enforce awards that meet certain criteria outlined in the Convention.

Are the Geneva Conventions universally accepted?

They are widely ratified and form the basis of international humanitarian law.

What is the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Geneva Conventions?

The ICRC plays a key role in promoting and ensuring compliance with the Geneva Conventions.

How does the New York Convention impact global commerce?

It provides a secure and predictable legal environment for resolving international commercial disputes.

How do the Geneva Conventions impact armed conflicts?

They establish legal standards for the ethical conduct of war and treatment of war victims.

What happens if a country violates the Geneva Conventions?

Violations can lead to international condemnation, legal actions, and in severe cases, international criminal prosecution.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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