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 law of war

The law of war is a legal term of art that refers to the aspect of public international law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war (jus ad bellum) and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct (jus in bello or International humanitarian law).


Among other issues, modern laws of war address declarations of war, acceptance of surrender and the treatment of prisoners of war; military necessity, along with distinction and proportionality; and the prohibition of certain weapons that may cause unnecessary suffering.


The law of war is considered distinct from other bodies of law—such as the domestic law of a particular belligerent to a conflict—that may provide additional legal limits to the conduct or justification of war.

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