The laws of war are a set of rules that aim to regulate the acceptable reasons for going to war (jus ad bellum), the conduct of hostilities during a war (jus in bello), and the aftermath of a war and the transition from war to peace (jus post bellum). They are a part of public international law, and they derive from states’ desire to regulate the use of force, to prevent unnecessary suffering and destruction during a conflict, and to create a just and sustainable peace after a conflict. The laws that regulate the conduct of hostilities, also referred to as international humanitarian law, stem from two branches of law: the law of The Hague, which addresses the various types of weapons and their permissible uses, as well as the behavior of combatants during hostilities; and the law of Geneva, which deals with the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war, including the wounded, civilians, prisoners of war, and medical and religious personnel. Some of the underlying principles of the laws of war, also referred to as the laws of armed conflict in a broader sense, are that the wanton destruction of human life and property is prohibited, that protracted conflicts are not desirable, and that hostilities must swiftly come to an end once the political objectives that began a conflict are achieved. Combatants and civilians must be protected from unnecessary hardship or suffering, and if they fall into the hands of the enemy, key human rights provisions will apply to them. And the perpetrators of serious human rights violations must be held accountable. The laws of war are distinct from but may cover similar issue areas as a belligerent state’s national laws, which may also place legal limits on the potential justification for going to war or the conduct of that state during a war.
Article. 6577 words.
Subjects: International Relations
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