International humanitarian law forms a major part of public international law and comprises the rules which, in times of armed conflict, seek to protect persons who are not or are no longer taking part in the hostilities, and to restrict the methods and means of warfare employed.

The law is derived from international treaty or customary rules which are specially intended to resolve matters of humanitarian concern arising directly from armed conflicts, whether of an international or non-international nature; for humanitarian reasons those rules 1) restrict the right of the parties to a conflict to use the method or means of warfare of their choice, and 2) protect persons and property affected or liable to be affected by the conflict.