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Distinction: Protecting civilians in armed conflict

By ICRC (Author)
Published : 2007


The cornerstone of the 1977 Additional Protocols is the principle of distinction. This leaflet provides a concise overview of the requirements of all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between civilians and combatants, civilian objects and military targets. It describes the protection afforded by the Additional Protocols to both those not taking part in the conflict as well as the protection entitled to combatants. At a time when civilians are increasingly bearing the brunt of war, the Additional Protocols are in place to impose limits on the way wars may be fought and to help offer protection to those caught up in conflict.