Ares Convention

We, the undersigned, on this 13th day of June, 2412, in accordance with our commitment to preserving human life, do solemnly pledge to prevent the loss of civilian life in war. Let this document testify to our desire to end the senseless atrocities attendant upon human conflict and our pledge to uphold the ideals contained with these Convention or suffer the harshest consequences.

Article I -- Nuclear Arms

The use of any nuclear device or variant thereof on a planetary surface or against any commercial vessel is prohibited. This prohibition extends to tactical nuclear blasts against the aforementioned targets. Controlled nuclear attacks in space against military targets are prohibited unless they occur at a minimum of 75,000 kilometers from the surface of any inhabited world in a star system.

[Ed. Note:  Due to the practical elimination of WarShips in the Succession Wars, nuclear attacks against military targets in space have essentially been forbidden as well.]

Article II -- Orbital Bombardment

The use of orbital assets to bombard stationary targets (as defined in Appendix B, Section 4) on a planetary surface with the single exception of a valid military objective whose destruction the attacker deems necessary to ensure the survival of his own troops, is prohibited. In no case may any orbital attack take place in or near any heavily populated area, and any orbital attack is subject to ex post facto review by a duly appointed council from the signatory states.

[Ed. Note:  Again, the lack of WarShips makes this Article useless.  Due to the widescale destruction of the First Succession War, modern interpretation forbids ALL orbital bombardment.]

Article III -- Surrender

To lessen the human cost of warfare, all combatants must accept the surrender of any unit that offers it. A white flag adorned with a red S will represent the universal surrender standard, so that any unit unable to communicate by conventional means may still surrender fairly. The universal surrender guidelines in Appendix E outline the provisions for the treatment of prisoners and fair compensation for the capturing forces upon the release of war prisoners to their native realms.

Article IV -- Safe Passage

The governments and military commands of the undersigned agree to recognize the aforementioned white flag as a symbol of truce. Any vessel, or vehicle, or person bearing such a truce flag shall be granted safe passage through any place, insofar as the bearer breaks no laws pertaining to that place, or initiates no hostile activity of any kind. Should the bearer of a truce flag engage in hostile activity as defined in Appendix F, the truce flag shall be deemed invalid, and any action taken against such an individual or individuals becomes the responsibility of those suffering said hostile action. Harassment of a truce flag bearer without provocation will be investigated by a duly appointed board of inquiry from the signatory states.

Article V --Urban Warfare Restrictions

No battle shall be waged in an urban area except under extreme circumstances. If the military objective of an assault lies in a city center, attacking troops must ensure that any hostile action taken causes the least possible amount of collateral damage. No attack may be made against any civilian target, for any reason. Civilian targets shall be deemed to include such life-supporting equipment such as water and air purifiers, agricultural assets, or any other item that enables a planet's population to continue their existence.

[Ed. Note:  Due to the destruction of the early Succession Wars, it has become the accepted custom of militaries to avoid damaging any manufacturing centers for BattleMechs, Jumpships, Dropships or other high technology equipment.  Additionally, JumpShips are not to be attacked (although they may be boarded, sabotaged etc.) under any circumstances.]

Article VI -- Chemical and Biological Weapons

Because chemical and biological agents kill human life indisciminately and often permanently damage the biosphere of any world suffering such as attack, the use, further development, and production of such agents is strictly prohibited.