In Geneva Conventions of 1949, together with the term war the terms international armed conflict and non-international armed conflict are used. Thus, since the 1950s, the term armed conflict is used more often than the term war. This change is primarily due to the political and ideological situation, an attempt to shift the focus in these terms, as well as the prohibition of the use of war as a legitimate means of settling international disputes.
It is understood that the face of the distinction between war and armed conflict is rather conventional, even though such a division has certain significance for the law applicable in armed conflicts. It is assumed that the term armed conflict is broader and includes the concept of war. But not every armed conflict could be called a war, because there is a significant difference between them.
From a legal point of view, a war has the following features:
• A formal act of announcement, as required by the Hague Convention 1907.
• The severance of diplomatic relations between warring states, which is a consequence of the declaration of war.
• The cancellation of the bilateral agreements, especially political ones.
• Special legal regime starts to act, which characterizes partial restriction of human rights and the like.
Consequently, only states or groups of states can conduct the war in accordance with the definition adopted in international law. Thus, a war is the armed struggle of two or more states and is characterized by a formal act of its announcement.
A war leads to a qualitative change in the state of society, because many public institutions begin to perform specific functions, caused by the war. As a result, the life of a society and its economy are rebuilt to ensure victory over the enemy. Under the international law, a war is a state of affairs between the two countries, or between the two groups of states or between states and groups of states, which is accompanied by mostly rupture of diplomatic relations, followed by the suspension of the application of general rules of international law of a peaceful period and a common determination to commit violent acts even if such actions in fact do not occur.
It should be noted that the term war is used to refer to the armed conflict between two or more sovereign subjects of international law, which may be solely the state. In cases where there is a civil war, or when a nation is fighting for independence, it is necessary to use the term armed conflict.
The conduct of military operations must not violate the principle of freedom of the seas and airspace above it, as well as the rights of neutral or non-belligerent states.
In Geneva Conventions of 1949, together with the term war the terms international armed conflict and non-international armed conflict are used. Thus, since the 1950s, the term armed conflict is used more often than the term war.