Because it is important that those who make war, the combatants, obey the rules that impose limits on them.  

The rules of war define what they can and cannot do during a conflict. 

And what do these rules say? 

Secondly, that all wounded soldiers have the right to be treated. Medical personnel must not be attacked. 

The rules of war also protect prisoners: it is forbidden to mistreat them. 

And they say that weapons that make no difference between combatants and the population, such as nuclear weapons, must not be used. 

These rules are embodied in texts, the Geneva Conventions, signed by almost every country in the world.

And they constitute International Humanitarian Law, called “the law of war”. 

But what happens to combatants who break these rules?

Killing defenseless people, destroying cities, torturing… are acts considered as war crimes. 

Those who commit them or who order them can be judged by the International Criminal Court, a court of justice specially set up to prosecute war criminals.   

This court can sentence them to long prison sentences.