Biography: Friedrich Fromhold Martens

Friedrich Fromhold Martens was born on August 15, 1845 in the Estonian harbor city of Pärnu. He completed his law studies at Saint Petersburg University in 1869 and became a professor there in 1876. His theories on International law brought him worldwide acclaim. From 1868 Martens served as a diplomat for the Russian czars at various international conferences and congresses.

For the Brussels Conference of 1874 he drafted a convention on the rules and practices of war, seeking to get the conference participants to reduce suffering caused by war. The “Martens clause” on the protection of civilians and combatants was incorporated into the preamble of the Hague Land War Conventions of 1899 and 1907. He died on June 20, 1909 in present-day Estonia.