IRRC No. 274

The law of armed conflict and its application in Colombia

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Like war itself, which was one of the first and will undoubtedly be the last of mankind's social activities, the effort to regulate violent confrontations has a long history. Indeed, the laws of war in ancient China, 400 and 500 years before Christ, the chivalry of mediaeval knights, and the modern law of armed conflict, which started to take shape in the mid-nineteenth century, are but a few examples of the countless attempts made by different political regimes and legal systems to humanize the use of weapons as a means of settling disputes between States, and even between rulers and those they govern. Colombia is no stranger to this civilizing tradition. On the contrary, its history contains a number of illustrious precedents. The fact that they have fallen into oblivion makes them no less binding on the parties to the conflict ravaging the country at present.

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