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International Humanitarian Law

International humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the law of armed conflict, regulates the conduct of war (jus in bello). This aspect of international law seeks to protect individuals who are not participating in the fighting. Both the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions are examples of IHL. Violations of IHL are known as war crimes, and are regulated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

International Humanitarian Law

A number of international treaties were adopted in The Hague and Geneva, Switzerland, in the 19th century and early 20th centuries to regulate the conduct of war. These conventions are regulatory of jus in bello, conduct during warfare, as oppose to jus ad bello, or reasons for going to war. During the 19th century, the lines between combatants and civilians often became blurred with the creation of modern warfare. The development of IHL was a series of attempts to limit the savage impact of war on civilian populations.

There are seven basic rules of IHL. Fist is that persons outside of combat should be protected and treated humanely. Second, it is forbidden to kill someone who surrenders. Third, wounded and sick will be protected. Fourth, captured combatants need to be protected from reprisals and violence. Fifth, no person shall be subjected to torture. Sixth, parties in a conflict do not have an unlimited choice in the methods and means of warfare. Seventh, combatants and civilians must be distinguished between and attacks must be directed only at military targets.

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