Practice relating to Rule 66. Non-Hostile Contacts between the Parties to the Conflict
Section B. Use of the white flag of truce
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
Chapter 3. Identification
III.4. The white flag (or flag of truce)
The white flag is a customary element of war, and remains widely in use until this day. The white flag is used to indicate the intention to negotiate and to protect the persons who negotiate. It does not necessarily indicate – as it is often believed – an intention to surrender. The negotiation with an enemy can have concrete military motives: organization of a ceasefire in order to collect the dead and injured, or in order to exchange prisoners …
Chapter 4. Behaviour in action
II.4. The white flag (the flag of truce)
We have already spoken of this element of customary law; let us now see how it can be used during operations.
The white flag signifies “I want to enter into communication or negotiate with you”, and not necessarily “I want to surrender”. How does one use the white flag? The party which uses the white flag must cease firing. As soon as it has done so, the other side must do the same. Enemy forces then can in certain cases show their surrender in an evident manner, by throwing away their weapons and raising their arms.