Law of war
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The law of war is the most developed Body of Law within the Law of Nations which regulates the conduct of
Among other issues, modern laws of war address
The law of war is considered distinct from other bodies of law—such as the
Attempts to define and regulate the conduct of individuals, nations, and other agents in war and to mitigate the worst effects of war have a long history. The earliest known instances are found in the
In the Indian subcontinent, the
One should not attack chariots with cavalry; chariot warriors should attack chariots. One should not assail someone in distress, neither to scare him nor to defeat him ... War should be waged for the sake of conquest; one should not be enraged toward an enemy who is not trying to kill him.
An example from the
19When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? 20Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.
Also, Deuteronomy 20:10–12, requires the Israelites to make an offer of peace to the opposing party before laying siege to their city.
10 When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. 11And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labour for you and shall serve you. 12 But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.
Similarly, Deuteronomy 21:10–14 requires that female captives who were forced to marry the victors of a war could not be sold as slaves.
Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.
In the history of the early Christian church, many Christian writers considered that Christians could not be soldiers or fight wars.
One of the grievances enumerated in the