law of war

noun
rules or a code of rules governing the rights and duties of belligerents in an international war.


Origin:
1945–50

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

law of war

that part of international law dealing with the inception, conduct, and termination of warfare. Its aim is to limit the suffering caused to combatants and, more particularly, to those who may be described as the victims of war-that is, noncombatant civilians and those no longer able to take part in hostilities. Thus, the wounded, the sick, the shipwrecked, and prisoners of war also require protection by law

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
To receive testimony on legal issues regarding military commissions and the trial of detainees for violations of the law of war.
According to the law of war, an enemy combatant may be held until the end of hostilities.
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