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I recently went on a war movie binge, well POW movies actually. I watched The Bridge On The River Kwai, Stalag 17, and Paths of Glory, I thought they were all great! But they did get me interested in what the “rules of war” are, Alec Guinness in Kwai is an expert in them and manages to save his officers from death. Of course, he goes a little wacky but he’s a man of rules for sure. So what are those rules?
1. Civilians who are not combatants, whether groups or individuals, must at all times be spared from attack.
2. People who do not or cannot participate in attacks are entitled to their physical and mental integrity and must be protected without unfavorable distinction.
3. It is forbidden to kill or wound an adversary who surrenders or can no longer fight.
4. It is forbidden to use weapons or warfare that are likely to cause excessive or unnecessary loss and suffering.
5. The wounded and sick must be cared for even by the opposing party, and all medical personnel and supplies must be spared.
6. Everyone is entitled to judicial guarantees, including trial by court. No one should be subjected to cruel or unusual punishment.
7. Captives are entitled to uphold their religious and political convictions, exchange news with family, receive aid, enjoy basic judicial guarantees and be protected from violence or reprisal.