IRRC No. 321

International criminal jurisdiction, international humanitarian law and humanitarian action

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Shortly after the Second World War the community of States, still shocked by the explosion of violence that had torn the world apart for more than five years, ratified an updated version of the Geneva Conventions in the hope of acquiring a sound legal instrument which would preserve human dignity even in times of war. They undertook to respect the fundamental rights of the individual in armed conflicts, whether international or otherwise, and to limit the use of force to what was strictly necessary to place an enemy hors de combat. Their resolve found confirmation in the two Additional Protocols of 1977.

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