JUBA, South Sudan, July 20 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross welcomed South Sudan's signature to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, making the treaty universal.
South Sudan's signature to the Geneva Conventions and additional protocols means every country in the world has signed on to the treaty. The Geneva Conventions provide the foundation for modern international law, including the laws of war and protection for civilians during conflict.
Melker Mabeck, head of the ICRC's delegation to South Sudan, said now is the time for Juba to incorporate international law into its national security doctrine.
"These laws restricting the means and methods of warfare must be adhered to if we are to forge a path toward peace and prosperity," Dengtiel Ayuen Kuur, South Sudan's chairman of the Committee of Legislation and Justice, said in a statement. "Today we as a nation underline our commitment to the principles of humanity even in times of war."
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 according to the terms of a peace agreement brokered with Washington's help in 2005. Ethnic tensions, border conflicts and economic issues are threats to the fragile peace, however.
South Sudan and Sudan were pushed to the brink of war earlier this year following disputes over oil fields along the ill-defined border. Both sides met recently in an effort to settle outstanding issues, however.