International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules which seek for humanitarian reasons to limit the effects of armed conflict. IHL protects persons who are not or who are no longer participating in hostilities and it restricts means and methods of warfare. IHL is also known as the law of war and the law of armed conflict.
A major part of international humanitarian law is contained in the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 that have been adopted by all nations in the world. The Conventions have been expanded and supplemented by three further agreements: the Additional Protocols I & II of 1977, relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts, and the 2005 Additional Protocol III, relating to the adoption of an additional distinctive emblem.
These Conventions provide specific rules to safeguard combatants, or members of the armed forces, who are wounded, sick or shipwrecked, prisoners of war, and civilians as well as medical personnel, military chaplains, and civilian support workers of the military.