As the means, methods and strategy have evolved over centuries, so have the effects of war on its victims. The changing nature of armed conflict, evolving means and methods of combat, and the definition of who is considered a war victim under the law are inextricably linked to the relatively new concept of legal protection of victims of armed conflict, which emerged only at the end of the nineteenth century. Both the definition of victims of conflict and the scope of legal protection may have to be revised as modern warfare changes the conditions and consequences of conflict. To date, the Geneva Conventions have lent themselves to reinterpretation as the nature of conflict has evolved, providing progressively extensive legal protection in different types and situations of conflict. However, it cannot be excluded that a revision or extension of the very foundations of IHL may be necessary at some point in the near future, further expanding the legal protection of victims of armed conflict. It is the duty of the ICRC as the guardian of IHL to consider and propose changes to this body of law to ensure that future victims of conflict will have the necessary legal protection.
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