International Services Exploring International Humanitarian Law What is International Humanitarian Law? International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is a body of rules which in times of armed conflict, seek to protect people who are not or are no longer taking part in the fighting. IHL also restricts the methods and means of warfare employed. IHL today is composed of two main sets of laws, the Geneva Conventions, and the Hague Conventions. The Roots of IHL • Throughout the 1700’s and up to the beginning of the twentieth century, philosophers, and law makers, and governments began to develop laws and treaties aimed at minimizing the death and destruction of war. Geneva Conventions I. The protection of wounded and sick soldiers on land (1864). II. The protection of wounded and sick soldiers at sea (1906). III. The protection of prisoners of war (1929). IV. The protection of civilians (1949). Laws, Humanitarian Organizations, and Human Dignity in Times of Armed Conflict Do you think it makes sense to have Laws to limit the suffering in armed conflict? Human Dignity What is Human Dignity? How would you define it? War What images come to mind when you hear the word “war” or “armed conflict” ? What wars are currently going on in the world today? In Asia? What past wars do you know about? Means of Warfare Is everything allowed during an armed conflict? Should any Weapons be prohibited in armed conflict? Which ones? Why? The Idea of “Enemy” How would you define “enemy”? Does an enemy ever deserve to be protected during armed conflict? Civilians What is a civilian? How should civilians be treated during armed conflicts? Why? Children Why do children sometimes take part in armed conflicts? Wounded Combatants How do you believe a wounded enemy combatant should be protected? Prisoners How should an enemy prisoner be treated? Why? Women Do you think civilian women need special protection in time of war? What type of protection? Other Protected Persons Does anyone else need special protection in times of war? Who? Why? Protected Places in Times of War Are there places that you think should not be attacked? Which places? Why? Emblems in Use Red Cross Red Crescent Red Shield (Star) of David Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement For Further Information… • On the web… • American Red Cross – St. Louis http://www.redcrossstl.org • International Committee of the Red Cross (in times of armed conflict) - http://www.icrc.org • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (disaster relief) -http://www.ifrc.org Thank you!