Cover Image
close this bookBasic Rules of International Humanitarian Law (ICRC, 26 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentComponents of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
View the documentFundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
View the documentThe distinctive emblem and its value
View the documentFundamental Rules of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts
View the documentSome Rules of International Humanitarian Law applicable for First Aiders
View the documentMedical Personnel
View the documentSome examples of tasks in which First Aiders could be involved during a conflict
View the documentConclusion
View the documentBibliography
View the documentBack Cover

Fundamental Rules of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts

Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and physical and moral integrity. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely without any adverse distinction.

It is forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who surrenders or who is hors de combat.

The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power. Protection also covers medical personnel, establishments, transports and materiel. The emblem of the red cross or red crescent is the sign of such protection and must be respected.

Captured combatants and civilians under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives, dignity, personal rights and convictions. They shall be protected against all acts of violence and reprisals. They shall have the right to correspond with their families and to receive relief.

Everyone shall be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. No one shall be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment.

Parties to a conflict and members of their armed forces do not have an unlimited choice of methods and means of warfare. It is prohibited to employ weapons or methods of warfare of a nature to cause unnecessary losses or excessive suffering.

Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.

N.B. This paper on "Fundamental Rules of International Humanitarian Law" contains the essential parts of the law. Its authors have endeavoured, as far as possible, to use simple and concise terms. The sole purpose of the document is to facilitate the knowledge and dissemination of international humanitarian law.


Figure