The Geneva Conventions are 60 years old on Wednesday, but the anniversary comes amid concern that respect for the rules of war is small.
The three existing Geneva Conventions, which relate to the immunity of medical personnel on the battlefield and the treatment of prisoners of war, were extensively revised in 1949.
The fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that warring parties have an obligation to protect civilians, was added.
The fourth convention in particular was born out of the horrors of the World War II – not just the appalling atrocity of the concentration camps, but the deliberate starvation of the city of Leningrad, and the indiscriminate bombing of Dresden and Coventry.
The conventions received widespread international support from the start, and today all 194 states have ratified them.