International Committee of the Red Cross

From our archives: Rules to limit suffering

Photo gallery 18 August 2014

Even war has limits. The rules established by international humanitarian law protect those who are not, or no longer, participating in the hostilities – namely civilians and wounded, sick or captured fighters – and restrict the means and methods of warfare. All those taking part in the fighting have a duty to distinguish between combatants and civilians and must not target civilians. But signing treaties is not enough; all too frequent violations of humanitarian law in conflict have an unacceptable human cost. Today, more than ever, we call upon all parties to conflict to spare civilians and respect international humanitarian law.