International Humanitarian Law: A Perspective on Protection of Civilian Population, Ongoing Recent Wars and Prisoners of War

  • Aishwarya Hariharan
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  • Aishwarya Hariharan

    Lawyer in India

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This paper delves into the multifaceted aspects of international humanitarian law (IHL), examining its historical development, key characteristics, and its pivotal role in the protection of civilian populations and prisoners of war (POWs) in modern conflicts. The study investigates the complex interplay of factors that contribute to the outbreak of wars, particularly in the context of recent conflicts from the early 2000s onwards. The paper begins by tracing the historical evolution of IHL, highlighting its emergence from customary practices and the codification efforts of international treaties. It elucidates the fundamental principles and norms of IHL, emphasizing its humanitarian objectives aimed at mitigating the impact of armed conflicts on vulnerable populations. Central to the discussion is the concept of protection of civilian populations, elucidating the rights and safeguards afforded to non-combatants under IHL. The paper explores the challenges posed by contemporary warfare, including asymmetrical conflicts and the prevalence of non-state actors, which necessitate adaptive approaches to ensure civilian protection. Furthermore, the paper addresses the treatment of POWs, elucidating their legal status, rights, and the obligations of belligerent parties towards captured combatants under international law. It examines recent wars, analyzing the application of IHL principles and the evolving dynamics of conflict-related violence on civilian populations and POWs. Through a comprehensive analysis of recent conflicts, this paper underscores the ongoing relevance and efficacy of IHL in safeguarding human dignity amidst the complexities of modern warfare. It concludes with reflections on the future of IHL, proposing strategies to strengthen compliance and enforcement mechanisms to enhance protection for civilians and combatants in armed conflicts.


Research Paper


International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Volume 6, Issue 3, Page 253 - 266


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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