Practice Relating to Rule 47. Attacks against Persons Hors de Combat
Section B. Specific categories of persons hors de combat
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975) provides that, under the laws and customs of war, it is prohibited “to fire at, injure or kill an enemy who surrenders or who is captured”, as well as “to refuse an unconditional surrender”.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) states: “All combatants who are unable to fight must be spared.”
It further notes:
An enemy hors de combat may:
– raise his arm as an indication of surrender
– lay down his weapon
– display the white flag of parlementaires.
In addition, the manual specifies: “Captured enemy combatants are prisoners of war and shall not be attacked.”
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
An enemy hors de combat
can be defined as a combatant who … is unable to pursue combat by virtue of his capture, rendition, wounding or sickness. … [S]uch a person is not to be killed …, provided that he does not manifest any hostile intentions.
The manual, under the heading “Rules for Conduct in Combat”, also states: “Enemy combatants who surrender: spare them.”
The manual further states: “It is prohibited … to fire on, wound or kill an enemy combatant who surrenders or is captured”.
The manual provides that an enemy hors de combat may signal his intention to surrender as follows:
- raise his arms as an indication of surrender;
- lay down his weapon;
- display a white flag.
The manual also provides under the heading “The Rights of the Prisoner of War”: “He may not be attacked.”
The manual further states under the heading “The Wounded, Sick [and] Shipwrecked”: “In case of capture, they benefit from the treatment accorded to prisoners of war.”
The manual further states that in naval operations, “bombardment must cease if there is a manifest intention of the adversary to surrender”.
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (2007) states:
Article 30: Definition
… In addition [to its use as the flag of parlementaires], the white flag is the symbol of the surrender of troops and engages the adversary to respect immediately the ceasefire rules; from that moment, the persons who surrender must receive the application of the provisions relative to prisoners of war.
Article 32: Prohibitions
It is prohibited to soldiers in combat:
- to fire at, injure or kill an enemy who surrenders or who is captured or with whom a suspension of combat has been concluded;
- to commit violence to life or person of the wounded, sick or shipwrecked, of prisoners, as well as of civilians, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment or torture;
- to refuse an unconditional surrender or to declare that no quarter will be given.