International Humanitarian Law is a set of rules that regulate the way armed conflicts are conducted. There are two main focuses of IHL, which is a branch of international law. First focus is on protection of civilians and limitation of effects armed conflict has on them, and it also regulates and restricts the means and methods of warfare which is available to all conflicting sides. This law is inspired by consideration to all humanity as well as mitigation of human suffering.
There are few things that constitute IHL, Geneva Conventions, Hague Conventions, and all subsequent treaties, as well as customary international law and case law.
All of them work towards implementing rules and restrictions on the warfare and limiting the destruction it brings to both civilians and their property. Crimes that are committed against the IHL are known as war crimes. But there are other unwritten rules that all sides in the conflict are expected to follow.
Those rules exist due to some fractions in some conflicts who didn’t sign treaties that would lead to IHL. It should be noted that operates on international war level, and there is a strict division between that and internal armed conflicts, and the rules that apply to both conflict types. This dichotomy between laws that cover these conflict types is widely criticized by many.
Like every other law system IHL has its own basic rules that imply actions on the battlefields.
– People that are not participants in the conflict, people outside of the combat ( civilians ) and people that are not taking part in the fights ( neutral parties ) should be protected from any harm by all sides of the conflict.
– Those that are wounded and sick should not be harmed. Red cross and Red crescent is not to be harmed by anyone.
– Captured soldiers should be taken care of, not harmed and they should be able to contact their families.
– No torture should happen to anyone.
– There are limitations on what can be used in warfare.
– Attacks should be carried against combatants, never against non-combatants.