Practice Relating to Rule 47. Attacks against Persons Hors de Combat
Section B. Specific categories of persons hors de combat
The Soldier’s Rules (1989) of the Philippines instructs: “Do not fight enemies … who surrender. Disarm them and hand them over to your superior.”
The Rules for Combatants (1989) of the Philippines provides: “It is forbidden to attack … a wounded enemy combatant; an enemy combatant who surrenders …”
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) provides:
During an engagement:
4. Don’t kill enemy combatants who are wounded, who could no longer fight or who have already surrendered
. By International Humanitarian Law, it is authorized to neutralize enemy forces by reasonable means while in combat. An enemy who wields a firearm and considered a threat is still a military objective and thus considered an authorized target. As long as he is wielding his firearm, he can still be considered as target for neutralization. But as soon as he drops his firearm, raises his hand or a white cloth that is a gesture of symbol of surrender, he can no longer be shot.
In its glossary, the Handbook further notes:
Enemy “hors de combat” – enemy who is out of combat. A person who is recognized or who, in the circumstances, is no longer able to participate in combat, shall not be attacked (e.g. surrendering, wounded, dead, shipwrecked in water, descending by parachute from an aircraft in distress).
… – Any intention to surrender must be clearly expressed: raising arms, throwing away one’s weapons, bearing a white flag, etc.