The International Committee of the Red Cross is formally a legally-based Swiss organization, funded in 1863 by Henry Dunant, who had been impressed by the horrors witnessed on the Solferino battlefield.
The ICRC mandate is established by the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its three Protocols (two in 1977 and one in 2005). It is an organization “impartial, neutral and independent”, whose mission is exclusively humanitarian and aimed at protecting life and dignity of victims of armed conflicts, providing them with assistance. The President, who must be a Swiss citizen according to the Statute, since July 1st, 2012, is the Ambassador Peter Maurer.
The Committee is active in more than 80 countries. Currently, the main activities are in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Yemen and South Sudan. Other than the humanitarian activity, the Committee monitors the compliance with the international humanitarian law and it promotes its diffusion.
Together with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC constitutes the “International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent”, whose main body is the Permanent Commission, composed of nine members.
The President and the Director General of the ICRC are, respectively, Mirjana Spolijaric Egger and Robert Mardini.