The medical profession and international humanitarian law
International humanitarian law, whose purpose is to attenuate the evils of war, has been intimately bound from its earliest days to doctors and all others whose mission in life is to heal—the noblest of all professions. The fact is that this law originated from the need to make up for the deficiencies of military medical services and protect those wounded in war. Since then, the law has gone far beyond that framerwork and has extended its protection and solicitude to many other victims of conflicts and also, in peacetime, to victims of day-to-day life—sick people. An essentially medical element was the basis of the law, and continues to be a major element, referred to by some as “medical law”.