Practice Relating to Rule 3. Definition of Combatants
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
The following are considered as combatants:
- members of armed forces even if they profess allegiance to a non-recognized government,
- members of rebel movements,
- members of militias,
- members of armed resistance movements,
- members of the armed forces of a third country put at the disposal of a country in conflict.
Signs enabling a combatant to be identified:
- wearing a uniform,
- carrying a weapon openly,
- the presence of identifiable leaders commanding the troops,
- participation in an attack or in a deployment preparatory to a military operation,
- wearing fixed distinctive signs recognizable at a distance.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
By combatant, one means:
- every member of the armed forces, male or female, with the exception of medical and religious personnel,
- members of militias, volunteer corps, organized resistance movements belonging to a party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory.
Only combatants may take an active part in hostilities, i.e. fight or be the object of an attack by the enemy.
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
I. Combatant status
The term “combatant” is found in numerous treaties on the Law of Armed Conflicts (LOAC). It is important to know who is a combatant because:
- combatants are entitled to take a direct part in an armed conflict and, in particular, to engage in hostilities;
- combatants are lawful military objectives;
For heads of division and company commanders, the enemy’s combatant status comes into play when deciding on the selection of objectives. The commander must direct military operations against lawful objectives. Consequently, the commander, as well as each soldier under his command, must know who is a combatant. …
As a general rule, the term “combatant” comprises every member of the armed forces, with the exception of medical and religious personnel.
1.4 I.4. Unlawful combatants
“Unlawful” combatants are those who take a direct part in hostilities without having the legal right to do so according to the LOAC.
II.1.5. Unlawful combatants
Unlawful combatants comprise:
- civilians (except for those who are lawful combatants because they participate in a levée en masse);