Law of land warfare

From Academic Kids

The Law of Land Warfare is that part of the Laws of War applicable to the conduct of warfare on land and to relationships between belligerents and neutral States. This article, derived from public domain government sources, makes specific reference to the United States of America, but generally describes the law as internationally understood.

Contents

Purposes of the Law of War

The conduct of armed hostilities on land is regulated by the law of land warfare which is both written and unwritten. It is inspired by the desire to diminish the evils of war by:

Basic principles

Prohibitory effect

The law of war places limits on the exercise of a belligerentís power mentioned under Purposes and requires that belligerents refrain from employing any kind or degree of violence which is not actually necessary for military purposes and that they conduct hostilities with regard for the principles of humanity and chivalry.

Binding on States and Individuals

The law of war is binding not only upon States as such but also upon individuals and, in particular, the members of their armed forces.

Sources of the law

The law of war is derived from two principal sources:

  • Lawmaking Treaties (or Conventions), such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions.
  • Custom. Although some of the law of war has not been incorporated in any treaty or convention to which the United States is a party, this body of unwritten or customary law is firmly established by the custom of nations and well defined by recognized authorities on international law.

Lawmaking treaties may be compared with legislative enactments in the national law of the United States and the customary law of war with the unwritten Anglo-American common law.

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