U.N. Envoy Angelina Jolie Outlines What Constitutes 'War Crimes' amid International Conflicts

"Breaking these rules is a war crime," Angelina Jolie wrote on Instagram on Friday as she posted excerpts from the Geneva Conventions along with a basic summary of the rules of warfare

Angelina Jolie
Photo: European Parliament / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Angelina Jolie continues to speak out about civilian rights during wartime as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues with mounting civilian casualties in places like Bucha and Mariupol. She has also been very vocal about the ongoing Yemeni Civil War.

The humanitarian and Special Envoy to the United Nations, 46, posted a series of excerpts from the Geneva Conventions to her Instagram on Friday, highlighting language focusing on civilian populations caught in the middle of war.

The Geneva Conventions, agreed upon in 1949, are a series of treaties and international agreements establishing standards of humanitarian treatment during wartime of the sick and wounded, as well as civilians and non-combatants.

In the caption to her post, Jolie identified the Conventions as "an attempt to limit the damage done by war, and reduce suffering."

She also included a basic summary of the rules of warfare under the Conventions, writing, "Civilians can never be targeted" and "medics and aid workers should be protected." "The things civilians need for survival — like food and water — should not be denied or destroyed," Jolie's post noted.

The Oscar winner also specified that "Rape and other forms of sexual violence are expressly forbidden." "Breaking these rules is a war crime," Jolie concluded.

As a special envoy to the U.N., Jolie serves the High Commissioner for Refugees, and has brought attention to humanitarian crises around the world, including in Myanmar and Yemen.

She has also directly addressed the unfolding atrocities in Ukraine, specifically focusing on how children are going to "pay the highest price."

Last month, the Maleficent star posted a set of gripping photos to her Instagram amid the ongoing war. The carousel of images began with a photo of a man and woman holding children as they wait to cross a river after escaping Irpin, Ukraine.

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The second picture was of a teenage boy lying in a hospital bed with his mother nearby as he was treated for his injuries following a Russian attack. The third image showed a young cancer patient hugging a man in the basement of a treatment facility that is serving as a bomb shelter.

"As well as the millions who've fled over Ukraine's borders, nearly 2 million people are displaced inside their country, many trapped by fighting, denied access to aid, and in direct physical danger," Jolie captioned the post. "Without an end to the war children will pay the highest price — in trauma, lost childhoods and shattered lives."

She ended with a note for her followers to "learn more" about the UN High Commissioner for Refugees by sharing the official Instagram page.

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades. Details of the devastation change by the day, but hundreds of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. Millions of Ukrainians have also fled, the United Nations says.

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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