International Humanitarian Law: An Ancient Indian Perspective
13 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2011 Last revised: 27 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 12, 2011
This paper begins with the discussion of Hinduism and the concept of dharma, widely translated as way of righteousness. The paper further traces the analogical deductions of the origin of the international humanitarian law from the ancient Indian texts. The paper also tries to trace back to the ancient Indian warfare methods and techniques to establish the correlation and roots of international law and international humanitarian law with the concept and philosophy of Hinduism. The paper tries to prove that war as an art as well as a science was equally well understood in ancient India. The sources of ancient India, which are the sources of Hinduism, support the statement that the Indian civilisation was the first to discover the means and the laws of war. The ancient Indian texts established rules for the conduct of rulers towards their people, including, for example, the obligation to treat the vanquished humanely and the prohibition of poisoned weapons.
Keywords: International Humanitarian Law, Ancient India, Laws of War, Geneva Conventions
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