Practice Relating to Rule 5. Definition of Civilians

Additional Protocol I
Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I states:
1. A civilian is any person who does not belong to one of the categories of persons referred to in Article 4 A (1), (2), (3) and (6) of the Third Convention and in Article 43 of this Protocol.
2. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 50. Article 50 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.41, 26 May 1977, p. 161.
Additional Protocol II (draft)
Article 25(1) and (2) of the draft Additional Protocol II submitted by the ICRC to the CDDH provided that “any person who is not a member of armed forces is considered to be a civilian” and “the civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians”. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. I, Part Three, Draft Additional Protocols, June 1973, p. 40.
Paragraph 1 of Article 25 was amended and both paragraphs were adopted by consensus in Committee III of the CDDH. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XV, CDDH/215/Rev.1, 3 February–18 April 1975, p. 290, § 121.
The approved proposals provided that “a civilian is anyone who is not a member of the armed forces or of an organized armed group” and “the civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians”. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. XV, CDDH/215/Rev.1, 3 February–18 April 1975, p. 320.
Eventually, however, these draft provisions were deleted in the plenary by consensus. 
CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.52, 6 June 1977, p. 135.
ILA Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations against New Engines of War
Article 1 of the 1938 ILA Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations against New Engines of War provides:
The phrase “civilian population” within the meaning of this Convention shall include all those not enlisted in any branch of the combatant services nor for the time being employed or occupied in any belligerent establishment as defined in Article 2. 
Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations against New Engines of War, adopted by the International Law Association, Fortieth Conference, Amsterdam, 29 August–2 September 1938, Article 1.
The term “belligerent establishment” is defined in Article 2 as “military, naval or air establishment, or barracks, arsenal, munition stores or factories, aerodromes or aeroplane workshops or ships of war, naval dockyards, forts, or fortifications for defensive or offensive purposes, or entrenchments”. 
Draft Convention for the Protection of Civilian Populations against New Engines of War, adopted by the International Law Association, Fortieth Conference, Amsterdam, 29 August–2 September 1938, Article 2.
New Delhi Draft Rules
Article 4 of the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules states:
For the purpose of the present rules, the civilian population consists of all persons not belonging to one or other of the following categories:
(a) Members of the armed forces, or of their auxiliary or complementary organizations.
(b) Persons who do not belong to the forces referred to above, but nevertheless take part in the fighting. 
Draft Rules for the Limitation of the Dangers Incurred by the Civilian Population in Time of War, drafted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, September 1956, submitted to governments for their consideration on behalf of the 19th International Conference of the Red Cross, New Delhi, 28 October–7 November, Res. XIII, Article 4.
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Paragraph 6 of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of International Humanitarian Law between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Geneva, 27 November 1991, § 6.
Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Paragraph 2.5 of the 1992 Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires that hostilities be conducted in accordance with Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Agreement between Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representatives of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Miljenko Brkić (President of the Croatian Democratic Community), Geneva, 22 May 1992, § 2.5.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) defines a civilian as “any person who does not belong to the Armed Forces”. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.02(1).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) states that a civilian is defined “in a negative fashion, namely, any person not belonging to the armed forces. The definition covers civilians collectively as well, when they are referred to as the ‘civilian population’.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 914.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
G. P. I [1977 Additional Protocol I] defines a civilian in a negative fashion, namely, any person not belonging to the armed forces. The definition covers civilians collectively as well, when they are referred to as the “civilian population”. In cases of doubt about civilian status, the benefit of the doubt is given to the person concerned. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 9.14; see also § 5.33.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) defines civilians as “persons who do not belong to the Armed Forces [nor] take part in a levée en masse (civilian populations, men, women, children, journalists, journalists on a dangerous mission)”. 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule I, p. 12.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states: “Civilian persons … are persons who do not belong to the armed forces and who do not take part in a ‘levée en masse’.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 53; see also Part I bis, pp. 16 and 31.
The Regulations also states: “The civilian population comprises all civilians.” 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 82.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) defines civilians as “persons who are neither part of the armed forces nor participating in a levée en masse”. 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 17.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states: “Persons who do not belong to the Armed Forces and do not participate in a ‘levée en masse’ are considered civilians.” 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 92, § 352.11; see also p. 134, § 412.11.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides: “In general, a ‘civilian’ is any person who is not a combatant … The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 4-4, §§ 33 and 35.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states:
424. Definition of “civilian”
1. In general, a “civilian” is any person who is not a combatant …
426. Civilian population
1. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians. The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, §§ 424 and 426.
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 1 (Basic and team leader instruction): “Civilians are those persons who are not members of the armed forces and not taking part in a levée en masse (civilian populations, men, women, children, journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions).” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 1: Formation élémentaire toutes armés (FETA), formation commune de base (FCB), certificat d’aptitude technique No. 1 (Chef d’équipe), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter II, Section I, § 2.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
A civilian is any person who does not belong to the armed forces and does not take part in a mass uprising.
The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 56.
Colombia
Colombia’s Instructors’ Manual (1999) defines the term civilian as “any person who does not belong to the Armed Forces and who does not participate in a levée en masse”. 
Colombia, Derechos Humanos & Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual de Instrucción de la Guía de Conducta para el Soldado e Infante de Marina, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Oficina de Derechos Humanos, Fuerzas Militares de Colombia, Santafé de Bogotá, 1999, p. 16; see also p. 28.
The manual adds: “Civilians must be understood as those who do not participate directly in military hostilities (internal conflict, international conflict).” 
Colombia, Derechos Humanos & Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual de Instrucción de la Guía de Conducta para el Soldado e Infante de Marina, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Oficina de Derechos Humanos, Fuerzas Militares de Colombia, Santafé de Bogotá, 1999, p. 16.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
II.1. Protected persons and objects
- Civilians: persons who are not members of the armed forces and who do not take part in hostilities.
- Civilian population: entirety of civilians. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre I: Instruction de base, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 18–19.
In Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
II. Definition of civilians and of associated protected personnel
II.1. Civilians
Civilians must not be attacked. A civilian is a person who is not a member of the armed forces. … The term “civilians” refers to men and women, as well as children of both sexes.
II.3. The civilian population
The civilian population consists of civilian persons. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 31; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 2: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 2ème année, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 21.
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
I.1.1. Civilian
A “civilian” is a person who is not a combatant. …
I.1.2. Civilian population
The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 31.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) states that “civilians or persons not belonging to the armed forces” are non-combatants. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 6.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) defines civilians as those persons “who do not belong to the armed forces”. 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 5.
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic’s Military Manual (1980) states: “All persons participating in military operations or activities are considered combatants. Those who do not participate in such actions are non-combatants … Civilians … are included in the category of non-combatants.” 
Dominican Republic, La Conducta en Combate según las Leyes de la Guerra, Escuela Superior de las FF. AA. “General de Brigada Pablo Duarte”, Secretaría de Estado de las Fuerzas Armadas, May 1980, p. 3.
Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) provides that the notion of non-combatant applies “primarily to all individuals who are not part of the armed forces and who … abstain from committing hostile acts and from giving direct support to such acts. In this context, non-combatants and the civilian population, are, generally, synonymous.” 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 5.3; see also §§ 11.1 and 11.3.
The manual further specifies: “The civilian population consists of all persons not serving in the armed forces, militia, or paramilitary forces and not otherwise taking a direct part in the hostilities.” 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 11.3.
France
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) defines civilians as “those persons who do not belong to the armed forces”. 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, § 1.1.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) defines civilians as “those persons who do not belong to the armed forces or who do not participate in hostilities”. 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 4.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) states that “civilians or persons not belonging to the armed forces” are non-combatants. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 17.
Indonesia
Indonesia’s Air Force Manual (1990) states: “Unlawful combatants are persons who participate in hostilities without authorization of the belligerent authority, including persons who are neither members of the armed forces nor of a militia.” 
Indonesia, The Basics of International Humanitarian Law in Air Warfare, Indonesian Air Force, 1990, p. 18, § 22.
The Report on the Practice of Indonesia considers that this definition is compatible with the definition provided in Article 50(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of Indonesia, 1997, Chapter 1.1.
Ireland
Ireland’s Basic LOAC Guide (2005) states: “[A] civilian is anyone who does not belong to the armed forces. 
Ireland, Basic Guide to the Law of Armed Conflict, TP/TRG/01-2005, Director of Defence Forces Training, Department of Defence, July 2005, p. 10.
(emphasis in original)
Israel
With reference to Israel’s Law of War Booklet (1986), the Report on the Practice of Israel states:
The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) accepts and applies the principle of distinction, in accordance with the accepted definition of “civilian” under customary international law, which is understood to mean any individual who is not a member of an organized army of a State, and who is not involved in hostilities. 
Report on the Practice of Israel, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Conduct in the Battlefield in Accordance with the Law of War, Israel Defense Forces, 1986, Chapter 1.
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) defines civilians as those persons “who do not belong to the armed forces”. 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 5.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) defines a civilian as “any person who does not belong to the armed forces and does not take any part in a levée en masse”. 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 2, pp. 9–10.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states that the term “civilian person” means “any person who does not belong to the armed forces and who does not take part in a levée en masse”. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 2-SO, § B; see also Fiche No. 2-O, § 5.
Mexico
Mexico’s IHL Guidelines (2009) states: “Non-combatants include, in addition to the civilian population, civilians who accompany the armed forces without actually being members of them, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, etc.” 
Mexico, Cartilla de Derecho Internacional Humanitario, Ministry of National Defence, 2009, § 14(m).
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands defines a civilian as “every person who is not a combatant” and specifies: “the civilian population comprises all civilians”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. V-2.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “The term “non-combatant” is used for anyone who is not a combatant. This includes all civilians … on the assumption that they play no part in the hostilities.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0305.
In its chapter on behaviour in battle, the manual states:
0505. Civilians
A civilian is any person who is not a combatant … Medical personnel and chaplains occupy a special position: they do not have combatant status, but are not civilians … Persons accompanying armed forces, and personnel of the merchant marine, are considered civilians … If there is any doubt whether someone is a civilian, he or she is treated as a civilian.
0506. The civilian population comprises all civilians. The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0505–0506.
In its chapter on the protection of prisoners of war, the manual states:
… some civilian personnel of the Dutch armed forces are considered members [of the armed forces] and, as such, have combatant status. Other personnel, who are not members of the armed forces, do not “accompany” in the meaning of the above rule. In the terms of the law of war, such personnel belong to the category of civilians. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0703.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “Civilians are all those persons who do not take part in hostilities ([including] women, the elderly, children, journalists on dangerous assignments, refugees and internally displaced people).” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 33.a.(1).
In its Glossary of Terms, the manual states:
The civilian population is made up of civilian persons. In international armed conflicts, the presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character. Appropriate rules protect the whole population of a party to a conflict without any adverse distinction.
Both in international and non-international armed conflicts, the civilian population and civilian persons enjoy general protection against the dangers of military operations. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, Chapter 9, Glossary of Terms.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “Civilians are persons who do not belong to the armed forces.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, p. 418.
In its Glossary of Terms, the manual also states:
Civilian Population: Comprises all civilians. In international armed conflict, the presence of persons who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character.
Appropriate norms protect the whole population of a Party to the conflict without any adverse distinction. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, p. 412.
Philippines
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) notes in its glossary:
Civilian person – means any person who does not belong to the armed forces and does not take part in a “levee en masse.” In case of doubt whether a person is a civilian or not, that person shall be considered as a civilian.
Civilian population – comprises of all persons who are civilian. The presence of individuals other than civilian persons does not deprive the population of its civilian character. 
Philippines, Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, A Practical Guide for Internal Security Operations, 2006, p. 67, Glossary.
Poland
Poland’s Procedures Governing the Interment of Soldiers Killed in Action (2009) states in the section on definitions that civilians are “[p]ersons who are not members of the armed forces”. 
Poland, Norma Obronna NO-02-A053:2004, Działania wojenne Procedury pochówku poległych i zmarłych, enacted by decision No. 134/MON related to the Approval and Enforcement of Regulatory Instruments in Respect of State Defence and Security, 21 April 2009, published in the Official Gazette of the Ministry of National Defence, No. 8, Item 99, April 2009, Section 1.3.5.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
civilian is any person present in the area of combat operations, who is not a member of armed forces and refrains from any act of hostility. In case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered a civilian;
civilian population is a population which consists of civilians. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 1.
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) defines a civilian as a “person who does not belong to any fighting group and who does not take part in hostilities”. (emphasis in original) The manual further states that the “[c]ivilian population comprises of all persons who are civilians”. 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 25.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) defines civilians as “any person who does not belong to the armed forces and does not take part in a levée en masse”. 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 24(c). This manual is also included in Chapter 4 of the Draft Civic Education Manual of 1997.
South Africa
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) defines a “civilian” as “any person who does not belong to the armed forces and does not take part in a ‘levée en masse’.” 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 47(c).
(emphasis in original)
The manual further states: “If persons identified as civilians (defined above) engage the armed forces, then they are regarded as unlawful combatants and may be treated under the law as criminals.” 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 50(b).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states: “The civilian population is defined by exclusion. This means that civilians are those persons who are not combatants.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 1.3.a.(2).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states: “The civilian population is defined by exclusion. Civilians are all those persons who are not combatants.” 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 1.3.a.(2).
The manual further defines a civilian as “any person who does not belong to the armed forces and is not taking part in a levée en masse”. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 4.5.b.(1).(b); see also § 5.2.a.(2).(a).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) states:
In international humanitarian law, civilians (non-combatants) are those who are not entitled to use weapons in defence or to injure an adversary. Persons who cannot be classified as combatants are thus to be considered as civilians. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.2.1.5, p. 42.
Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) defines civilians as “persons who are not members of the armed forces, volunteer corps or resistance movements, and who do not take part in a levée en masse; that is to say the civilian population: men, women and children, journalists on a dangerous mission”. 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule I, p. 13.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
A civilian is any person who finds himself/herself in the zone of warfare, is not a member of armed forces and refrains from any act of hostility. In case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian.
The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians. The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character and of its protection under international humanitarian law. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.32.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “Civilians are all persons other than those defined in paragraphs 1 to 8 above [combatants, guerrillas and commandos, spies, mercenaries, military non-combatants].”  
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 9, p. 10, § 9.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Civilians are persons who are not members of the armed forces. In cases of doubt, persons are considered to be civilians. ‘The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians’.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 5.3.1.
United States of America
The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states: “Civilians are all persons other than those mentioned as combatants in [Article 4(A) of the 1949 Geneva Convention III].” 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 5-3; see also § 1-2.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) refers first to the notion of non-combatants as primarily applying to “those individuals who do not form part of the armed forces and who otherwise refrain from the commission or direct support of hostile acts. In this context, noncombatants and, generally, the civilian population, are synonymous.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 5.3; see also § 11.1.
The manual further specifies: “The civilian population consists of all persons not serving in the armed forces, militia, or paramilitary forces and not otherwise taking a direct part in the hostilities.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 11.3.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “A civilian is a person who is not a combatant or noncombatant.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 5.4.3.
The Handbook defines noncombatants as “those members of the armed forces who do not take direct part in hostilities because of their status as medical personnel and chaplains.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 5.4.2.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) defines a civilian as “any person who does not belong to one of the categories of persons specified in [the provisions concerning armed forces, commandos, saboteurs and parachuters]”. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 67(3).
The manual defines a civilian population as “the entire population of a party to the conflict which does not belong to any of the categories of armed forces”. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 52.
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War (1995), as amended in 2007, states:
Article 3. According to the present Law civilians are defined as follows:
1) During international armed conflicts – persons not belonging to the armed forces of the party to the conflict and persons located in the conflict zone in any given time and in any given function, or being in the hands of a party to the conflict or of the aggressive power which they are not nationals of;
2) During internal armed conflicts – persons not belonging to the armed forces of the party to the conflict, nor taking active part in the hostilities, as well as persons belonging to the armed forces of the party to the conflict before the start of military operations and had laid down their arms by their own free will or hors de combat as a result of any reason. 
Azerbaijan, Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War, 1995, as amended to Law 430-IIIQD dated 9 October 2007, Article 3.
Spain
Spain’s Penal Code (1995) contains a chapter on crimes against protected persons who are defined as “the civilian population and individual civilians protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 or Additional Protocol I of 8 June 1977”. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, Article 608(3).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 2006, in the Maktouf case, the Appellate Panel of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina stated: “The relevant facts which indisputably indicate that these were civilians are the facts that in the moment of abduction these persons were not in the zone of combat activities, they were not uniformed and they were not armed.” 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maktouf case, Judgment, 4 April 2006, p. 10.
Colombia
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
For the purpose of the principle of distinction and its application to internal armed conflicts, the term “civilian” refers to persons fulfilling the following two conditions: (i) they are not members of the armed forces or irregular armed organizations involved in an armed conflict; and (ii) they do not take part in hostilities individually as “civilians” or “individual civilians” or collectively as “civilian population”. The definition of “civilians” or “civilian population” is similar throughout international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflicts. For example, the same definition of “civilian” has been used in case law to refer to certain conduct such as a war crime or a crime against humanity.
… [D]etermining the civilian status of a person or a population shall depend on an analysis of the specific facts based on which such status is invoked rather than on a mere classification in the abstract, taking into account ... that the notion of “hostilities”, like the term “armed conflict”, goes beyond the specific time and place where actual fighting occurs and must be applied in accordance with the criteria of space and time delimited by international humanitarian law. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment, 25 April 2007, pp. 81–83.
[footnote in original omitted]
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2009, in the Basele Lutula and others case, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Military Garrison Court of Kisangani convicted Mai-Mai militia members of various crimes. When analysing the crime against humanity of rape, the Court stated:
[P]opulation is understood as all the inhabitants of a given geographic area;
… [A]ccording to Le Robert micro dictionary, the term “civilian” refers to everything that is not military;
… [T]he term “civilian population” must be interpreted broadly. 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Military Garrison Court of Kisangani, Basele Lutula and others case, Judgment, 3 June 2009, p. 23.
Germany
In 2010, in the Fuel Tankers case, the Federal Prosecutor General at Germany’s Federal Court of Justice investigated whether war crimes or other crimes under domestic law had been committed in the course of an airstrike which was ordered by a colonel (Oberst) of the German armed forces against two tankers transporting fuel for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan stolen by the Taliban near Kunduz and which resulted in the deaths of a number of civilians. The Federal Prosecutor General stated:
Pursuant to § 170 para. 2 StPO [Penal Procedure Code], the investigation proceedings which were initiated by the order of 12 March 2010 against Colonel ( Oberst) Klein and Company Sergeant Major (Hauptfeldwebel) Wilhelm due to suspected offences under the VStGB [International Crimes Code] and other offences are to be terminated as a result of the investigations conducted and based on the sources of information set out hereafter and on the reasons given in detail hereafter. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, p. 1.
The Federal Prosecutor General considered the definition of “civilians” in non-international armed conflict in the context of § 11(1)(3) of Germany’s International Crimes Code which states that carrying out an attack by military means and definitely anticipating that the attack will cause death or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects on a scale out of proportion to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated is a war crime in international and non-international armed conflict. The Federal Prosecutor General stated:
The following is to be considered regarding the subjective element of § 11 (1) (3) VStGB [International Crimes Code]:
aa)
Insurgents who continuously take part in the armed conflict, as the Taliban in this case, are not civilians but legitimate military objectives which may be lawfully attacked even outside of ongoing armed hostilities. Art. 50 (1) AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I] contains a definition of the term “civilian” for international armed conflicts. Accordingly any person “who does not belong to one of the categories of persons referred to in Art. 4 paragraph A sub-paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (6) of the [1949 Geneva] Convention III and in Article 43 of this Protocol is a civilian”. Therefore members of armed forces or of organized armed groups (militias and volunteer corps) of a party to the conflict and of a levée en masse are not civilians … They often have a regular full-time or part-time civilian job (“farmer by day, fighter by night”). Nevertheless they are not considered as civilians under current international law who only assume the role of a fighter during the limited duration of ongoing armed hostilities and constitute a lawful military objective during such time only. … The opinion previously expressed in the literature according to which they are to be considered as civilians who may only be attacked during their participation in hostilities … is to be considered as a minority opinion which has not been representative at least since the publication of the Interpretative Guidance of the International Committee of the Red Cross in June 2009 … State practice in non-international armed conflict never reflected this opinion and in addition it is not reconcilable with the principle of distinction which is generally recognized as customary international law …
The fuel tankers had been abducted by an organized group of armed Taliban whose members were thus not civilians. 
Germany, Federal Court of Justice, Federal Prosecutor General, Fuel Tankers case, Decision, 16 April 2010, pp. 47–48; see also p. 60.
Israel
In its judgment in the Public Committee against Torture in Israel case in 2006, Israel’s High Court of Justice stated:
The approach of customary international law is that “civilians” are those who are not “combatants” (see §50(1) of The First Protocol [1977 Additional Protocol I], and SABLE, at p. 432). In the Blaskic case, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ruled that civilians are –
“Persons who are not, or no longer, members of the armed forces” (Prosecutor v. Blaskic (2000) Case IT-95-14-T, para 180).
That definition is “negative” in nature. It defines the concept of “civilian” as the opposite of “combatant”. It thus views unlawful combatants – who, as we have seen, are not “combatants” – as civilians. 
Israel, High Court of Justice, Public Committee against Torture in Israel case, Judgment, 14 December 2006, § 26.
Israel
In 2008, in its judgment in the A. v. State of Israel case concerning the legality of national law with regard to unlawful combatants, Israel’s High Court of Justice stated:
[W]e should point out that the question of the conformity of the term “unlawful combatant” to the categories recognized by international law has already been addressed in our case law in Public Committee against Torture in Israel v. Government of Israel, in which it was held that the term “unlawful combatants” does not constitute a separate category but is a subcategory of “civilians” recognized by international law. This conclusion is based on the approach of customary international law, according to which the category of “civilians” includes everyone who is not a “combatant”. … In this context, two additional points should be made: first, the finding that “unlawful combatants” belong to the category of “civilians” in international law is consistent with the official interpretation of the [1949] Geneva Conventions, according to which in an armed conflict or a state of occupation, every person who finds himself in the hands of the opposing party is entitled to a certain status under international humanitarian law – a prisoner of war status which is governed by the Third Geneva Convention or a protected civilian status which is governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention: … the term “unlawful combatants” in the law under discussion does not create a separate category of treatment from the viewpoint of international humanitarian law, but constitutes a sub-group of the category of “civilians”. 
Israel, Supreme Court of Israel, Court of Criminal Appeals, A. v. State of Israel case, Judgment, 11 June 2008, § 12.
Peru
In 2006, in the Lucanmarca case, the Second Provisional Criminal Chamber of Peru’s Supreme Court of Justice stated:
The definition as military objective of a person who is not participating in hostilities but who has been labelled as not innocent by the leaders or commanders of an armed organization according to their ideology or political views is not an admissible justification or excuse in criminal law. No person or group of persons can decide who must and who must not be eliminated. Such behaviour is punishable by law. 
Peru, Supreme Court of Justice, Second Provisional Criminal Chamber, Lucanmarca case, Case No. 560-03, Judgment of 13 October 2006, p. 188.
Spain
In 2010, in the Couso case, which concerned the killing of a Spanish journalist in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 by troops of the United States of America, the Criminal Chamber of Spain’s Supreme Court noted:
Article 608 of our PC [Penal Code (1995)] … entitled “Offences against Protected Persons and Objects in the Event of Armed Conflict” within the … [Title] dedicated to “Offences against the International Community” specifies that
“for the purposes of this chapter, protected persons are understood as:
3. The civilian population and individual civilians protected by the IV Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 or Additional Protocol I of 8 June 1977”. 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(II), Sexto, § 2, pp. 11–12.
[emphasis in original]
The Court also referred to norms of IHL relevant to the case under review, including Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I defining the civilian population. 
Spain, Supreme Court, Couso case, Judgment, 13 July 2010, Section II(II), Sexto, § 2, p. 14.
United States of America
In March 2008, in the Hamdan case, a Guantánamo Military Commission considered a Defence motion that, as the accused had been denied the protection of the 1949 Geneva Convention III as a prisoner of war, he was entitled to the protection of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV as a civilian. The Commission denied the Defence motion on the basis that, firstly, the accused (a Yemeni national) did not meet the definition of “protected person” under Geneva Convention IV and, secondly, even had he met the definition, such protection would have been derogated by virtue of his participation as an unlawful combatant. The Commission stated:
Article 4 of GC IV [1949 Geneva Convention IV] identifies “Persons protected by the Convention” in these terms:
Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it. Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.
Applying this definition to the accused, the Commission finds, for the purposes of this motion, that the accused meets the initial, broad definition of a “protected person” in that he “at any given moment and in any manner whatsoever, [finds himself] … in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which [he is] not [a] national.” But the second paragraph excludes nationals of a neutral state (such as Yemen) who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent state (such as Afghanistan) “while the state of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic relations” with the State in whose hands they are (such as the United States) … .
… [T]he Commission concludes that the accused is not a “protected person” within the meaning of Article 4 because Yemen then had and continues to have diplomatic relations with the United States.
… [T]he Commission concludes that the Defense has not shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the United States presence in Afghanistan was an occupation within the meaning of GC IV or traditional International Law of military occupation. This conclusion reinforces the Commission’s determination that the accused is not a protected person under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and that the relief he seeks, which applies only in occupied territory, should be denied.
The general rule is clearly as the Defense describes it: every person on the battlefield is intended to be protected by one of the Conventions. But this is true only if they meet the requirements of Article 4. The Commission concludes that the accused does not meet those requirements, because he is a citizen of Yemen, which has full diplomatic relations with the United States, and because the United States did not occupy Afghanistan. If the Commission has erred with respect to this conclusion, it likewise appears that his status as an unlawful combatant permits derogation from those rights that would otherwise apply to civilians not engaged in hostilities. He is among that unusual class of persons not protected by either GC III [1949 Geneva Convention III] or GC IV, but entitled to the minimal protections of Common Article 3 [to the 1949 Geneva Conventions]. 
United States, Guantánamo Military Commission, Hamdan case, Ruling, 24 March 2008, pp. 2–5.
United States of America
In the Hamlily case in 2009, in which the petitioners challenged the legality of their detention at Guantánamo by seeking writs of habeas corpus, the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the US Government’s detention policy is generally consistent with the authority conferred on the US President under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Public Law 107-40, 115 Stat. 224, 18 September 2001, and core law of war principles that govern non-international armed conflicts. In its analysis of the government’s “definitional” framework” providing for the detention of “Taliban or al Qaida forces or associated forces”, the Court stated the following with regard to “civilian” status in armed conflict:
Petitioners argue, just as they did in Gherebi, that because they cannot be classified as “combatants” under Article 4(A) of the Third Geneva Convention [the 1949 Geneva Convention III] or Article 43 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I, they must be “civilians” – a classification that means they are not subject to military force (i.e., detention) “unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.” [Additional Protocol I] arts. 51(1), 51(3) … Moreover, the government no longer seeks to detain petitioners on the basis that they are “enemy combatants.” Indeed, the government's abandonment of this term is an implicit acknowledgment that “[i]n non-international armed conflict combatant status does not exist. … The treaty authorities that regulate non-international armed conflicts – Common Article 3, Additional Protocol II and the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Commentaries on both – in fact do not “make any reference whatsoever to the term ‘combatant.’” Gherebi, 2009 WL 1068955, at *18. Gherebi correctly observes that “petitioners evidently interpret this lack of protection for ‘combatants’ in non-international armed conflicts to mean that every individual associated with the enemy to any degree in such a conflict must be treated as a civilian.” Id. Gherebi then explains:
The Geneva Conventions restrict the conduct of the President in armed conflicts; they do not enable it. And the absence of any language in Common Article 3 and [1977] Additional Protocol II regarding prisoners of war or combatants means only that no one fighting on behalf of an enemy force in a non-international armed conflict can lay claim to the protections of such status, not that every signatory to the Geneva Conventions must treat the members of an enemy force in a civil war or transnational conflict as civilians regardless of how important the members in question might be to the command and control of the enemy force or how well organized and coordinated that force might be. Id.
This Court agrees that the lack of combatant status in non-international armed conflicts does not, by default, result in civilian status for all, even those who are members of enemy “organizations” like al Qaeda. 
United States, District Court for the District of Columbia, Hamlily case, Judgment, 19 May 2009, pp. 12–15.
[footnotes in original omitted]
Djibouti
In 2010, in the History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, under the heading “Terminology”, defined a civilian as “[a]ny person who is not a combatant”. 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Higher Education, History and Geography Textbook for 8th Grade, 2010, p. 201.
Djibouti
In 2011, in the History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, Djibouti’s Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, under the heading “Terminology”, defined a civilian as “[a]ny person who is not a combatant”. 
Djibouti, Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, History and Geography Textbook for 9th Grade, 2011, p. 211.
Iraq
The Report on the Practice of Iraq notes that the definition of civilian includes everyone who does not join the armed forces nor carry arms against one of the belligerents. 
Report on the Practice of Iraq, 1998, Chapter 1.1.
Islamic Republic of Iran
The Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran found no specific legal definition of civilian but states that anyone who is not included in the category of combatant should be considered a civilian. 
Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1997, Chapter 1.1.
Israel
In 2010, in a position paper submitted to the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010 (the Turkel Commission), established by the Israeli Government to examine the Gaza flotilla incident, Israel’s Military Advocate General stated that “whoever does not belong to the armed forces of the opposing side is a ‘civilian’, and as such is protected from direct and intentional attack”. 
Israel, Position paper by the Military Advocate General on investigating allegations of violations of IHL, submitted to the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010 (the Turkel Commission), 19 December 2010, Part B.
[footnote in original omitted]
Jordan
On the basis of an interview with a high-ranking army officer, the Report on the Practice of Jordan states: “Civilians are all those who do not belong to the armed forces.” 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Interview with a high-ranking officer of the Jordanian army, Chapter 1.1.
Malaysia
The Report on the Practice of Malaysia states that there is no definition of the concept of civilian under any of Malaysia’s written laws. However, on the basis of the practice during the insurgency period as gleaned from interviews with members of the armed forces, the report claims that persons who neither carry arms nor wear a uniform can be considered civilians. 
Report on the Practice of Malaysia, 1997, Interviews with members of the Malaysian armed forces, Chapter 1.1.
Netherlands
In 2007, in reply to a written question from the Dutch Parliament regarding the status of private security companies under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands stated:
If there is an armed conflict, the status of private security personnel, not being a member of the armed forces, depends on factual circumstances. Most of the time, these circumstances will be of such a kind that private security personnel will have the status of “civilian” under International Humanitarian Law (IHL). 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Statement by the Minister of Defence, Handelingen, 2007–2008 Session, 7 November 2007, Appendix No. 529, p. 1138.
Russian Federation
The Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation notes that although there is no standard definition of civilians, a definition can be inferred a contrario from the definition of combatant, i.e. civilians are those who do not fall within the definition of combatant. 
Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation, 1997, Chapter 1.1.
Rwanda
The Report on the Practice of Rwanda refers to a declaration by Rwanda’s Minister of Defence on 18 August 1997 in which he stated that government troops may only target enemies who carry arms and/or kill people. The report thus concludes, a contrario, that in an internal armed conflict civilians are defined as those persons who do not carry arms nor commit inhumane acts against the population in relation to the hostilities. 
Report on the Practice of Rwanda, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Statement by the Rwandan Minister of Defence, Kigali, 18 August 1997.
Switzerland
In 2010, in its Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, Switzerland’s Federal Council stated:
Existing international humanitarian law treats non-State actors in a different manner depending on whether the situation is an international armed conflict or a non-international armed conflict.
In fact, in international armed conflicts, there are two categories of persons, combatants and civilians, the first having the right to take a direct part in hostilities. …
International humanitarian law establishes criteria for the granting of combatant status. It is primarily for members of the armed forces of a party to the conflict but also for members of other militias. For this, combatants must carry their arms openly, be recognisable (generally by a uniform), be under a responsible command and act in conformity with international humanitarian law in their operations.
Persons not falling in this category are civilians. They notably benefit from protection against direct attacks, provided that and as long as they do not take a direct part in hostilities. This participation does not however constitute a violation of international humanitarian law but entails the loss of the protection against attacks granted to civilians. …
In non-international armed conflicts, international humanitarian law does not provide for any particular status of combatant. Non-State actors participating in the conflict are civilians, who are protected against attacks provided that and as long as they do not take a direct part in hostilities. …
The analysis concerning private military and security companies does not fundamentally differ from that concerning other non-State actors. … As a general rule, they must be considered as civilians (independently of the uniform they wear), that is to say they do not have benefit of any combatant privilege and are only authorized by national law to use arms in cases of legitimate defence. 
Switzerland, Federal Council, Report on IHL and Current Armed Conflicts, 17 September 2010, Section 3.1, pp. 6–8.
[footnotes in original omitted]
Syrian Arab Republic
On the basis of a statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly in 1997, the Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that the Syrian Arab Republic considers that the definition provided in Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly, 1 October 1997.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Upon ratification of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the United Kingdom made a declaration stating, inter alia, that the terms “civilian” and “civilian population” used in this Convention had the same meaning as in Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.  
United Kingdom, Declaration made upon ratification of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, 13 February 1995, § a(iii).
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe considers that the definition of civilians in Article 50 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is regarded as customary by Zimbabwe in the context of an international armed conflict. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.1.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the UN Security Council:
Recalls that journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians. This is without prejudice to the right of war correspondents accredited to the armed forces to the status of prisoners of war provided for in article 4.A.4 of the Third Geneva Convention. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1738, 23 December 2006, § 2, voting record: 15-0-0.
No data.
No data.
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
In the Kaing case before the ECCC, the accused was charged, both individually and as a superior, with, inter alia, various crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. In its judgment in 2010, the Trial Chamber considered the definition of civilians and the civilian population in relation to the chapeau requirements for crimes against humanity. The Trial Chamber stated:
304. Civilian status is defined through the provisions of the law of armed conflict, particularly Article 50 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I and Article 4A of the [1949] Third Geneva Convention, which establish that members of the armed forces and other combatants (militias, volunteer corps and members of organized resistance groups) cannot claim civilian status. The civilian population therefore includes all persons who are not members of the armed forces or otherwise recognised as combatants. Members of the armed forces are not considered “civilians” merely because they were not engaged in combat at the time of their arrests. Accordingly, soldiers hors de combat do not qualify as civilians for the purposes of Article 5 of the ECCC Law [Law on the Establishment of the ECCC (2001), as amended in 2004]. As a general presumption, the armed law enforcement agencies of a State are considered to be civilians for purposes of international humanitarian law. A person shall be considered to be a civilian for as long as there is doubt as to his or her status.
311. Where the civilian population is the object of an attack, the ICTY Appeals Chamber has further clarified that “there is no requirement nor is it an element of crimes against humanity that the victims of the underlying crimes be civilians.” [ICTY, Mrkšić case, Judgment on Appeal, § 32] Thus, a soldier who is hors de combat may be the victim of an act amounting to a crime against humanity, provided that all other necessary conditions are met.
312. The reference to “any” civilian population ensures that the nationality or ethnicity of the population is immaterial. Provided the victims were targeted as part of an attack against a civilian population, it is unnecessary to demonstrate that they were linked – politically, ethnically, or otherwise – to any particular group. Crimes against humanity may therefore include a State’s attack on its own population. 
ECCC, Kaing case, Judgment, 26 July 2010, §§ 304 and 311–312.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]
International Criminal Court
In the Katanga and Chui case before the ICC, the accused, respectively the alleged commander of the Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (FRPI) and the alleged former leader of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were charged with jointly committing through other persons various crimes against humanity and war crimes under Articles 7 and 8 of the 1998 ICC Statute. In its decision on the confirmation of charges in 2008, the Pre-Trial Chamber considered the definition of a “civilian population”. The Pre-Trial Chamber stated:
The drafters in Rome also left the exact meaning of the term “any civilian population” undefined. However, the Chamber observes that, as opposed to war crimes which are provided for in article 8 of the [1998 ICC] Statute, the term “civilian population” within the meaning of article 7 of the Statute affords rights and protections to “any civilian population” regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or other distinguishing feature:
[t]he requirement in Article 5 [of the ICTY Statute] that the enumerated acts be “directed against any civilian population” contains several elements. The inclusion of the word “any” makes it clear that crimes against humanity can be committed against civilians of the same nationality as the perpetrator or those who are stateless, as well as those of a different nationality. However, the remaining aspects, namely the definition of a “civilian” population and the implications of the term “population”, require further examination. [ICTY, Tadić case, Judgment, § 635]. 
ICC, Katanga and Chui case, Decision on the confirmation of charges, 30 September 2008, § 399.
[footnotes in original omitted]
In 2012, the ICC Trial Chamber II acquitted Mr Ngudjolo Chui of all the charges against him. 
ICC, Ngudjolo Chui case, Judgment, 18 December 2012, Disposition.
International Criminal Court
In the Bemba case before the ICC, the accused, the alleged President and Commander-in-chief of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), was charged, inter alia, with murder, rape and torture as war crimes and as crimes against humanity, pursuant to Articles 7 and 8 of the 1998 ICC Statute. In its decision on the confirmation of charges in 2009, the Pre-Trial Chamber considered the definition of the terms “civilian” and “civilian population” for the purposes of the chapeau requirements for crimes against humanity. The Pre-Trial Chamber stated:
76. … The Chamber concurs with Pre-Trial Chamber I which has stated that the potential civilian victims under article 7 of the Statute could be of any nationality, ethnicity or other distinguishing features. …
78. The Chamber observes that the term “civilians” or “civilian population” is not defined in the Statute. However, according to the well-established principle of international humanitarian law, “[t]he civilian population […] comprises all persons who are civilians as opposed to members of armed forces and other legitimate combatants”. 
ICC, Bemba case, Decision on the confirmation of charges, 15 June 2009, §§ 76 and 78.
[footnote in original omitted]
International Criminal Court
In its decision on the confirmation of charges in the Mbarushimana case in 2011, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I stated:
The term “civilian”[,] in accordance with article 50(1) of the AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I], applies to anyone who is not a combatant, and in case of doubt, the person shall be considered to be a civilian. Additionally, a civilian population comprises all civilians as opposed to members of armed forces and any other legitimate combatants. 
ICC, Mbarushimana case, Decision on the Confirmation of Charges, 16 December 2011, § 148
The charges against Mr Mbarushimana related to alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Pre-Trial Chamber did not confirm the charges. 
ICC, Mbarushimana case, Decision on the Confirmation of Charges, 16 December 2011, § 340.
In its judgment of 30 May 2012, the ICC Appeals Chamber confirmed that decision and dismissed the appeal. 
ICC, Mbarushimana case, Judgment on Appeal, 30 May 2012.
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
In its judgment in the Bagilishema case in 2001, the ICTR Trial Chamber, analysing the preconditions of Article 4 of the 1994 ICTR Statute (violations of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and of the 1977 Additional Protocol II), stated:
To take a direct or active part in the hostilities covers acts which by their very nature or purpose are likely to cause harm to personnel and equipment of the armed forces. In assessing whether or not an individual can be classed as being a civilian, the overall humanitarian purpose of the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols should be taken into account. To give effect to this purpose, a civilian should be considered to be any one who is not a member of the “armed forces”, as described above, or any one placed hors de combat. 
ICTR, Bagilishema case, Judgment, 7 June 2001, § 104.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In the pre-trial brief in the Tadić case in 1996, the ICTY Prosecutor argued that the term civilian in Article 5 of the 1993 ICTY Statute (crimes against humanity) covered all non-combatants within the meaning of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Reaffirming the customary nature of common Article 3, the Prosecutor specified that “it provides an authoritative definition of noncombatants or ‘protected persons’ in the broad sense of international humanitarian law”. 
ICTY, Tadić case, Prosecutor’s Pre-Trial Brief, 10 April 1996, p. 45.
In its response, the Defence agreed that the term “civilian” under Article 5 did cover all non-combatants but argued that the concept of non-combatant was not always easy to delineate, especially when groups were not under the direct control of a central government (as was allegedly the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina). 
ICTY, Tadić case, Response to Prosecutor’s Pre-Trial Brief, 23 April 1996, pp. 19–20.
In its judgment in 1997, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated that “determining which individuals of the targeted population qualify as civilians for purposes of crimes against humanity” was not as clear as other concepts. The Trial Chamber ruled:
Common Article 3, the language of which reflects “elementary considerations of humanity” which are “applicable under customary international law to any armed conflict”, provides that in an armed conflict “not of an international character” Contracting States are obliged “as a minimum” to comply with the following: “persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely.” [The 1977 Additional Protocol I] defines civilians by the exclusion of prisoners of war and armed forces, considering a person a civilian in case of doubt. However, this definition of civilians contained in common Article 3 is not immediately applicable to crimes against humanity because it is a part of the laws or customs of war and can only be applied by analogy. The same applies to the definition contained in [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] and the Commentary, [the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] on the treatment of civilians, both of which advocate a broad interpretation of the term “civilian”. They, and in particular common Article 3, do, however, provide guidance in answering the most difficult question: specifically, whether acts taken against an individual who cannot be considered a traditional “non-combatant” because he is actively involved in the conduct of hostilities by membership in some form of resistance group can nevertheless constitute crimes against humanity if they are committed in furtherance or as part of an attack directed against a civilian population. 
ICTY, Tadić case, Judgment, 7 May 1997, § 639.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In the Galić case before the ICTY in 1999, the accused, a senior officer in the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS), was charged, inter alia, with “attacks on civilians as set forth in Article 51 of Additional Protocol I and Article 13 of Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 1949”, “punishable under Article 3 of the Statute of the Tribunal” as a violation of the laws or customs of war, for his alleged role in events in Sarajevo in 1992–1994. 
ICTY, Galić case, Indictment, 26 March 1999, Counts 4 and 7.
In its judgment in 2003, the ICTY Trial Chamber held, inter alia:
47. As already stated, the first part of Article 51(2) of Additional Protocol I proscribes making the civilian population as such, or individual civilians, the object of attack. According to Article 50 of Additional Protocol I, “a civilian is any person who does not belong to one of the categories of persons referred to in Article 4(A)(1), (2), (3) and (6) of the Third Geneva Convention and in Article 43 of Additional Protocol I.” For the purpose of the protection of victims of armed conflict, the term “civilian” is defined negatively as anyone who is not a member of the armed forces or of an organized military group belonging to a party to the conflict. It is a matter of evidence in each particular case to determine whether an individual has the status of civilian.
49. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians, as defined above. The use of the expression “civilian population as such” in Article 51(2) of Additional Protocol I indicates that “the population must never be used as a target or as a tactical objective”. 
ICTY, Galić case, Judgment, 5 December 2003, §§ 47 and 49.
[emphasis in original]
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Blaškić case in 2000, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated: “Civilians … are persons who are not, or no longer, members of the armed forces.” 
ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgment, 3 March 2000, § 180.
In its judgment in 2004, the ICTY Appeals Chamber also considered the definition of civilians:
113. Read together, Article 50 of Additional Protocol I and Article 4A of the Third Geneva Convention establish that members of the armed forces, and members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces, cannot claim civilian status. Neither can members of organized resistance groups, provided that they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, that they have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, that they carry arms openly, and that they conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. However, the Appeals Chamber considers that the presence within a population of members of resistance groups, or former combatants, who have laid down their arms, does not alter its civilian characteristic. The Trial Chamber was correct in this regard.
114. However, the Trial Chamber’s view that the specific situation of the victim at the time the crimes were committed must be taken into account in determining his standing as a civilian may be misleading. The ICRC Commentary is instructive on this point and states:
All members of the armed forces are combatants, and only members of the armed forces are combatants. This should therefore dispense with the concept of quasi-combatants, which has sometimes been used on the basis of activities related more or less directly with the war effort. Similarly, any concept of a part-time status, a semi-civilian, semi-military status, soldier by night and peaceful citizen by day, also disappears. A civilian who is incorporated in an armed organization such as that mentioned in paragraph 1, becomes a member of the military and a combatant throughout the duration of the hostilities (or in any case, until he is permanently demobilized by the responsible command referred to in paragraph 1), whether or not he is in combat, or for the time being armed. If he is wounded, sick or shipwrecked, he is entitled to the protection of the First and Second Conventions (Article 44, paragraph 8), and, if he is captured, he is entitled to the protection of the Third Convention (Article 44, paragraph 1). [ICRC Commentary, Additional Protocol I, p. 515, § 1676]
As a result, the specific situation of the victim at the time the crimes are committed may not be determinative of his civilian or non-civilian status. If he is indeed a member of an armed organization, the fact that he is not armed or in combat at the time of the commission of crimes, does not accord him civilian status. 
ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgment on Appeal, 29 July 2004, §§ 113–114.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Blagojević and Jokić case in 2005, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated:
The term “civilian” refers to persons not taking part in hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds detention or any other cause. It is a principle of customary international law that these persons are protected in armed conflicts. The presence within a population of members of resistance groups or former combatants who have laid down their arms does not alter its civilian character. A population is considered a “civilian population” if it is predominantly civilian in nature. It is not necessary to demonstrate that the victims are linked to any particular side of the armed conflict. The Appeals Chamber has recently emphasised Blaskić Appeal Judgement, § 109] that “there is an absolute prohibition on the targeting of civilians in customary international law.” 
ICTY, Blagojević and Jokić case, Judgment, 17 January 2005, § 544.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Kordić and Čerkez case in 2004, the ICTY Appeals Chamber stated: “The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians and the presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character.” 
ICTY, Kordić and Čerkez case, Judgment on Appeal, 17 December 2004, § 50.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgment in the Dragomir Milošević case in 2007, the ICTY Trial Chamber stated:
945. The meaning of “civilian” is defined in Article 50(1) of Additional Protocol I, which reads:
“A civilian is any person who does not belong to one of the categories of persons referred to in Article 4 (A) (1), (2), (3) and (6) of the Third Convention and in Article 43 of this Protocol. In case of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian.”
That is, the term “civilian” is defined negatively, to include any person who is not a member of the armed forces or an organised military group belonging to a party to the conflict. In some circumstances it may be difficult to ascertain whether a person is a civilian.
946. The generally accepted practice is that combatants distinguish themselves by wearing uniforms, or, at the least, a distinctive sign, and by carrying their weapons openly. Other factors that may help determine whether a person is a civilian include his or her clothing, activity, age or sex. In cases of doubt whether a person is a civilian, that person shall be considered to be a civilian. As stated in the Commentary on Additional Protocol I, the presumption of civilian status applies to:
“[p]ersons who have not committed hostile acts, but whose status seems doubtful because of the circumstances. They should be considered to be civilians until further information is available, and should therefore not be attacked.” 
ICTY, Dragomir Milošević case, Judgment, 12 December 2007, §§ 945–946.
In its judgment of 2009, the Appeals Chamber considered the definition of “civilian” in the context of the chapeau requirements for the prosecution of crimes against humanity under Article 5 of the 1993 ICTY Statute, stating:
[T]he definition of civilians contained in Article 50 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I applies to crimes under both Article 3 and Article 5 of the [1993 ICTY] Statute, and … provided that the direct participation in hostilities is adequately taken into account, the application of this definition is appropriate in this case. 
ICTY, Dragomir Milošević case, Judgment on Appeal, 12 November 2009, § 23.
[footnotes in original omitted]
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In the Martić case, the accused, who had held various leadership positions in the so-called “Serbian Autonomous District (SAO) Krajina” and the “Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK)”, was convicted of, inter alia, murder and torture as violations of the laws and customs of war and as crimes against humanity. In its judgment in the case in 2008, the ICTY Appeals Chamber considered the definition of “civilian” in relation to the chapeau requirement for the prosecution of crimes against humanity under Article 5 of the 1993 ICTY Statute. The Appeals Chamber stated:
292. In Blaškić, the Appeals Chamber overturned the Trial Chamber’s holding that the specific situation of the victim at the time of the crime may be determinative of his civilian or non-civilian status and held that members of the armed forces and other combatants (militias, volunteer corps and members of organised resistance groups) cannot claim civilian status. In its reasoning, the Appeals Chamber considered that
[i]n determining the scope of the term “civilian population,” the Appeals Chamber recalls its obligation to ascertain the state of customary law in force at the time the crimes were committed. In this regard, it notes that the Report of the Secretary General states that the [1949] Geneva Conventions “constitute rules of international humanitarian law and provide the core of the customary law applicable in international armed conflicts.” Article 50 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions contains a definition of civilians and civilian populations, and the provisions in this article may largely be viewed as reflecting customary law. As a result, they are relevant to the consideration at issue under Article 5 of the [1993 ICTY] Statute, concerning crimes against humanity. [Blaškić case, Judgement on Appeal, § 110]
The Appeals Chamber [in Blaškić went on to find that:
Read together, Article 50 of Additional Protocol I and Article 4A of the Third Geneva Convention establish that members of the armed forces, and members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces, cannot claim civilian status. Neither can members of organized resistance groups, provided that they are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, that they have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, that they carry arms openly, and that they conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. Blaškić case, Judgement on Appeal, § 113]
It therefore concluded that the Trial Chamber had erred in its characterization of the civilian population and of civilians under Article 5 of the Statute by holding that the specific situation of the victim at the moment the crimes were committed, rather than his status, must be taken into account in determining whether the victim is a “civilian”.
293. While the Prosecution argues that the Appeals Chamber in Kordić and Čerkez, apparently departing from Blaškić, established a binding precedent when it found that persons placed hors de combat “were without a doubt […] ‘civilians’ in the sense of Article 5 of the Statute” [Kordić and Čerkez case, Judgement on Appeal, § 421], the Appeals Chamber does not find this argument persuasive.
294. First, the Kordić and Čerkez Appeals Chamber did not, at any point, set out reasoning in support of an expansive interpretation of the term civilian, nor did it address the prior holding rendered in the Blaškić Appeal Judgement on this same issue. On the contrary, in its discussion of the relevant applicable law, the Kordić and Čerkez Appeals Chamber followed the Blaškić precedent:
In determining the scope of the term “civilian population,” the Appeals Chamber recalls its obligation to ascertain the state of customary law in force at the time the crimes were committed. The Appeals Chamber considers that Article 50 of Additional Protocol I contains a definition of civilians and civilian populations, and the provisions in this article may largely be viewed as reflecting customary law. As a result, they are relevant to the consideration at issue under Article 5 of the Statute, concerning crimes against humanity. [Kordić and Čerkez case, Judgement on Appeal, § 97]
295. Second, the Appeals Chamber recalls that, in the Blaškić and Galić Appeal Judgements, it found that the definition of civilian contained in Article 50(1) of Additional Protocol I was applicable to crimes against humanity. In Blaškić, the Appeals Chamber expressly rejected giving the term civilian a broad interpretation for the purposes of crimes against humanity:
As a result, the specific situation of the victim at the time the crimes are committed may not be determinative of his civilian or non-civilian status. If he is indeed a member of an armed organization, the fact that he is not armed or in combat at the time of the commission of crimes, does not accord him civilian status. [Blaškić case, Judgement on Appeal, § 114]
The Galić Appeal Judgement is likewise unambiguous in this respect.
297. With respect to the argument of the Prosecution that the definition of civilian enshrined in Article 50(1) of Additional Protocol I is not applicable to the distinctive context of crimes against humanity, the Appeals Chamber recalls that the Tribunal has consistently held, since its first cases, that provisions of the Statute must be interpreted according to the “natural and ordinary meaning in the context in which they occur”, taking into account their object and purpose. [Tadić case, Judgement on Appeal, §§ 282–283 and § 285] In this regard, the Appeals Chamber observes that the definition of civilian found in Article 50(1) of Additional Protocol I accords with the ordinary meaning of the term “civilian” (in English) and “civil” (in French) as persons who are not members of the armed forces. As such, the definition of civilians relied upon by the Prosecution is contrary to the ordinary meaning of the term “civilian.”
298. As for the Prosecution’s reference to case-law considering whether or not victims of Article 3 crimes were participating in the hostilities at the time of the offence, the Appeals Chamber notes that this jurisprudence does not redefine the meaning of the term “civilian”, but merely refers to the rule laid down in Article 51(3) of Additional Protocol I, according to which civilians enjoy “general protection against dangers arising from military operations” unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.
299. The Appeals Chamber considers that while certain terms have been defined differently in international humanitarian law and in the context of crimes against humanity, the fundamental character of the notion of civilian in international humanitarian law and international criminal law militates against giving it differing meanings under Article 3 and Article 5 of the Statute. Such definitional consistency also accords with the historical development of crimes against humanity, intended as they were to fill the gap left by the provisions pertaining to crimes against peace and war crimes in the Charter of the International Military Tribunal of 8 August 1945 (“Nuremberg Charter”).
300. As for the Prosecution’s argument that the definition in Article 50 of Additional Protocol I is not directly transferable to non-international armed conflicts (where the notion of “combatant” does not exist), the Appeals Chamber notes that Article 13 of [the 1977] Additional Protocol II refers to the protection of civilians and the civilian population. According to the ICRC Commentary, this provision corresponds with Article 50 of Additional Protocol I and, as a result, civilians in the context of non-international armed conflicts can be defined as those persons who do not belong to the armed forces, militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces, organised resistance groups or a levée en masse.
302. … [T]he Appeals Chamber finds that the definition of civilian contained in Article 50 of Additional Protocol I reflects the definition of civilian for the purpose of applying Article 5 of the Statute. 
ICTY, Martić case, Judgment on Appeal, 8 October 2008, §§ 292–295, 297–300 and 302.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]
Special Court for Sierra Leone
In its judgment in the Fofana and Kondewa case in 2007, the SCSL Trial Chamber stated the following on the interpretation of civilian status:
116. The term “civilian population” must be interpreted broadly. The Chamber is satisfied that customary international law, determined by reference to the laws of armed conflict, has established that the civilian population includes all of those persons who are not members of the armed forces or otherwise recognised as combatants.
117. In order for a population to be considered “civilian”, it must be predominately civilian in nature; the presence of certain non-civilians in their midst does not change the character of the population. In determining whether the presence of soldiers within a civilian population deprives it of its civilian character, the Chamber must examine, among other factors, the number of soldiers as well as their status. The presence of members of resistance armed groups or former combatants who have laid down arms, within a civilian population, does not alter its civilian nature.
136. The armed law enforcement agencies of a State are generally mandated only to protect and maintain the internal order of the State. Thus, as a general presumption and in the execution of their typical law enforcement duties, such forces are considered to be civilians for the purposes of international humanitarian law. This same presumption will not exist for military police or gendarmerie who operate under the control of the military. The Chamber notes that, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of 1991 and the The Police Act of 1964, the Sierra Leone Police operates under the control of the Minister of Internal Affairs, a civilian authority.
137. The Chamber is of the opinion that the status of police officers in a time of armed conflict must be determined in light of an analysis of the particular facts of a case. A civilian police force, for example, may be incorporated into the armed forces, which will cause the police to be classified as combatants instead of civilians. This incorporation may occur de lege, by way of a formal Act, or de facto. 
SCSL, Fofana and Kondewa case, Judgment, 2 August 2007, §§ 116–117 and 136–137.
In its judgment in 2008, the Appeals Chamber, in considering the definition of civilians in relation to the chapeau requirements of crimes against humanity, stated:
260. … [P]erceived “collaborators” are accorded civilian status under international law. The Appeals Chamber also notes that the Trial Judgment mentions the killings and mistreatments of a number of police officers. The Trial Chamber found that, as a general presumption and in the execution of their typical law enforcement duties, police forces are considered civilians for the purpose of international humanitarian law, unless they operate under the control of the military.
264. The Appeals Chamber holds that as a matter of law perceived or suspected collaborators with the rebels or juntas, as in the present case, are likewise part of a “civilian population”. 
SCSL, Fofana and Kondewa case, Judgment on Appeal, 28 May 2008, §§ 260 and 264.
[footnotes in original omitted]
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that a civilian is “any person who does not belong to the armed forces and does not take part in a levée en masse”. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 51.
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