The Geneva Conventions form the foundation of international humanitarian law. The Conventions are an international set of rules governing the conduct of war, and the treatment of both war fighters and civilians. Nearly every country on Earth has agreed to abide by the stipulations of these conventions.
The first Geneva Convention dates to 1864, and dealt with treatment of those wounded in battle. Shortly after World War II, additional rules were developed, covering treatment of prisoners of war and other areas.
- http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/91.htm - Text of the Geneva Convention