The right of combatants to choose their means and methods of warfare is not unlimited. This is a basic tenet of international humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the law of armed conflict or the law of war. IHL consists of the body of rules that apply during armed conflict with the aim of protecting persons who do not, or no longer, participate in the hostilities (e.g. civilians and wounded, sick or captured combatants) and regulating the conduct of hostilities (i.e. the means and methods of warfare). IHL sets limits on armed violence in wartime in order to prevent, or at least reduce, suffering. It is based on norms as ancient as war itself, rooted in the traditions of all societies.
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