Practice relating to Rule 66. Non-Hostile Contacts between the Parties to the Conflict

Note: For practice concerning local arrangements concluded for the evacuation of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, see Rule 109, Section B. For practice concerning the conclusion of an agreement to suspend combat with the intention of attacking by surprise the adversary relying on it, see Rule 64.
No data.
Agreement No. 3 between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the ICRC Plan of Action
Under Paragraph II(2) of the 1992 Agreement No. 3 between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the ICRC Plan of Action, the ICRC requests that all parties accept their responsibilities and take essential measures, such as to “negotiate, organize and respect truces in areas where humanitarian activities are conducted and inform the population accordingly through the media”. 
Agreement No. 3 between Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representative of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Miljenko Brkić (President of the Croatian Democratic Community) on the ICRC Plan of Action, Geneva, 6 June 1992, § II(2).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) provides: “The observation of the principle of good faith must be constant and unfailing in dealings with the enemy.” 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, RC-46-1, Público, II Edición 1969, Ejército Argentino, Edición original aprobado por el Comandante en Jefe del Ejército, 9 May 1967, § 1.017.
Belgium
Belgium’s Field Regulations (1964) provides: “It is prohibited to enter in contact with the enemy, except with deserters, the wounded and parlementaires.” 
Belgium, Règlement sur le Service en Campagne, Règlement IF 47, Ministère de la Défense Nationale, Etat-Major Général, Force Terrestre, Direction Supérieure de la Tactique, Direction Générale du Planning, Entraînement et Organisation, 1964, § 21.
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states:
Relations between military commanders in the field of operations are necessary … for military or humanitarian purposes …
It is indispensable that, from both sides, these relations [intercourse between belligerents] be marked by the most scrupulous good faith and that no party takes any advantage from these relations that the other party does not intend to concede. 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, p. 40.
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso’s Disciplinary Regulations (1994) states that it is prohibited for a combatant “to enter in contact with the enemy”. 
Burkina Faso, Règlement de Discipline Générale dans les Forces Armées, Décret No. 94-159/IPRES/DEF, Ministère de la Défense, 1994, Article 33(3).
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975) states that it is prohibited for a combatant “to enter in contact with the enemy”. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline dans les Forces Armées, Décret No. 75/700, 6 November 1975, Article 28.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (2007) states:
Article 28: Duties of the combatant
It is absolutely prohibited for him:
- to enter in contact with the enemy or to surrender to the enemy while he has the means to fight. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline générale dans les forces de défense, Décret N° 2007/199, Président de la République, 7 July 2007, Article 1.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides:
Negotiations between belligerent commanders may be conducted by intermediaries known as parlementaires. The wish to negotiate by parlementaires is frequently indicated by the raising of a white flag, but any other method of communication such as radios may be employed. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 14-1, § 3.
Congo
The Congo’s Disciplinary Regulations (1986) states that it is prohibited for a combatant “to enter in contact with the enemy”. 
Congo, Décret No. 86/057 du 14 janvier 1986 portant Règlement du Service dans l’Armée Populaire Nationale, 1986, Article 30(3).
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
Chapter 1. Introduction to the law of war
II. The fundamental principles of IHL
Just as military operations are based on principles concerning attack, defence, withdrawal, etc., the law of armed conflicts contains a set of well-defined principles. These concrete principles reflect the realities of conflicts. They represent a balance between the principle of humanity and military necessity, and they are valid at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances. It is essential that these rules are known by all combatants. They must permanently be taken into consideration in every activity of evaluation, planning, and military training or operation. The following principles can be found throughout the texts of the law of armed conflicts.
II.5. Good faith
Good faith between belligerents is a customary principle of the conduct of war. Soldiers must show good faith in their interpretation of the law of armed conflicts. Good faith must also be respected in negotiations between belligerents and in talks with humanitarian organizations.
Chapter 4. Behaviour in action
II. 2. Temporary ceasefires
There are moments during the conduct of operations – apart from combat, of course – when contacts with the enemy can occur. What is meant here are non-hostile contacts, or relations which the opposing forces can regard as necessary.
Every officer has the competence to conclude a temporary ceasefire of a precise and limited scope. Of course, any decision of that type must receive the approval of the hierarchy. Temporary ceasefires can be extremely useful for evacuating or collecting the wounded on the battlefield, or to allow the evacuation of civilians to a safer place. Ceasefires are limited in time and in scope. It is indispensable that the two parties show complete good faith.
IV.3.1. Evacuation of the sick and wounded
The law demands of the parties to the conflict to strive to conclude local arrangements for the evacuation of the wounded, sick, infirm, elderly, children and maternity cases who find themselves in zones under siege or encircled. 
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, pp. 9, 12, 14, 39, 42 and 51; 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, pp. 13 and 14; 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, pp. 14, 46 and 73.
Croatia
Croatia’s Commanders’ Manual (1992) states:
Local interruptions of combat and other arrangements can be concluded between opposing forces. At lower levels, such arrangements can be very simple and concluded orally: voice, radio, bearer of a white flag (flag of truce). At higher levels and for longer lasting interruptions of combat, written agreements shall be concluded. 
Croatia, Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflicts – Commanders’ Manual, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, § 80.
France
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, states that it is prohibited for a combatant “to enter in contact with the enemy”. 
France, Règlement de Discipline Générale dans les Armées, Decree No. 75-675 of 28 July 1975, replacing Decree No. 66-749, completed by Decree of 11 October 1978, implemented by Instruction No. 52000/DEF/C/5 of 10 December 1979, and modified by Decree of 12 July 1982, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-Major de l’Armée de Terre, Bureau Emploi, Article 9(3).
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “A cessation of hostilities is regularly preceded by negotiations with the adversary. In the area of operations the parties to the conflict frequently use parlementaires for this purpose.” 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 222.
The manual adds:
Apart from detaching parlementaires, the parties to a conflict may also communicate with each other through the intermediary of Protecting Powers. Protecting Powers are neutral or other states not parties to the conflict which safeguard the rights and interests of a party to the conflict and those of its nationals vis-à-vis an adverse party to the conflict … Particularly the International Committee of the Red Cross may act as a so-called substitute … if the parties to the conflict cannot agree upon the designation of a Protecting Power …
A cease-fire is defined as a temporary interruption of military operations which is limited to a specific area and will normally be agreed upon between the local commanders. It shall regularly serve humanitarian purposes, in particular searching for and collecting the wounded and the shipwrecked, rendering first aid to these persons, and removing civilians. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, §§ 231 and 232.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) stresses that non-hostile contacts with the enemy may be “direct or through an intermediary”, for information, warning, summons, local arrangements or the creation of neutralized zones. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 79.
Israel
Israel’s Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) states: “Many of the customs that are accepted today, such as … not attacking a messenger conducting negotiations … originate in the Middle Ages.” 
Israel, Rules of Warfare on the Battlefield, Military Advocate-General’s Corps Command, IDF School of Military Law, Second Edition, 2006, p. 10.
The Manual on the Rules of Warfare (2006) is a second edition of the Manual on the Laws of War (1998).
Italy
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) notes that specific agreements to be executed on the battlefield may be concluded by parlementaires. 
Italy, Manuale di diritto umanitario, Introduzione e Volume I, Usi e convenzioni di Guerra, SMD-G-014, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, Vol. I, § 51.
Italy
Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) provides:
Local interruptions of combat and other arrangements can be concluded between opposing forces. At lower levels, such arrangements can be very simple and concluded orally: voice, radio, bearer of a white flag (flag of truce). At higher levels and for longer lasting interruptions of combat, written agreements shall be concluded. 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 80.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) states:
It is within the legal competence of an officer to arrange a temporary cease-fire for a specific and limited purpose, for example, to permit the collection or evacuation of the wounded. Any such action should be reported to the higher authority. Absolute good faith is required in all such dealings [the arrangement of a cease-fire] with the enemy. 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 4, p. 5.
Lebanon
Lebanon’s Army Regulations (1971) forbids communication by combatants with the enemy. 
Lebanon, Règlement Général de l’Armée, No. 1/400, Ministère de la Défense, Commandement de l’Armée, 14 January 1971, § 15.
Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) mentions non-belligerent contacts with the enemy through intermediaries such as protecting powers or the ICRC. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 7-SO, § C.
It also states:
Local cease-fires and other agreements may be concluded between the opposing forces. At inferior levels, such agreements may be very simple and concluded orally: voice, radio or bearer of a white flag (flag of parlementaires). At superior levels and for long term cease-fires, written agreements are to be concluded. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 7-O, § 32, see also Fiche No. 9-SO, § C.
Netherlands
The Military Handbook (1995) of the Netherlands states: “Only a commander may decide to negotiate with the adverse party.” 
Netherlands, Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-40.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) provides:
Even between the belligerent armies direct contact may sometimes be necessary [for instance to arrange for the collection of the dead or exchange of the wounded] but relations between the belligerent forces are confined to mainly military matters. Occasionally, such relations, for example, the arrangement of a local truce or surrender, may involve political considerations but in view of radio and similar means of communication these matters tend nowadays to be taken up on an inter-government level, avoiding actual negotiations between belligerent commanders.
Negotiations between belligerent commanders are normally conducted, at least in the first instance, by intermediaries known as parlementaires. The wish to negotiate by parlementaires is frequently indicated by the raising of a white flag but any other method of communication, eg by radio, may be employed.
Any agreement made by belligerent commanders must be scrupulously adhered to … As between combatants, the most usual purpose of contact is to arrange for an armistice or truce, whether for a specific purpose or more generally. Whatever the nature of the arrangement it must be entered into and carried out in good faith.
Agreements between belligerents permitting activities between them which are inconsistent with belligerent status are known as cartels. Such an arrangement is voidable by either Party on proof of breach of its terms by the other.
… In addition to any other agreements that may be made between the belligerents or commanders in the field, the Geneva Conventions and [Additional Protocol] I contain a number of provisions recognizing that in the special circumstances specified in these treaties agreements between belligerents may be desirable or necessary. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, §§ 405, including footnote 11, 406(1), 407(1) and (2) and 411.
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War states: “The conduct of war and the wish to restore peace sometimes require intercourse between the belligerents.” 
Nigeria, The Laws of War, by Lt. Col. L. Ode PSC, Nigerian Army, Lagos, undated, § 24.
Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea’s Operational Law Manual (1996) states that, instead of the white flag, radio communications or messages dropped from aircraft may be used to start negotiations. 
Republic of Korea, Operational Law Manual, 1996, p. 179.
South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
2.9 Actions of Intermediaries
Protecting Powers
When direct contacts between commanders or contacts through bearers of flag of truce or similar persons are not possible, the commanders may also ask for cooperation from the Protecting Power (or from intermediaries such as the International Committee of the Red Cross). 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, pp. 168–170.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) notes that the belligerents may conclude special oral agreements on specific questions, such as agreements to allow the search for the wounded or for the flight of a medical aircraft over a small zone controlled by the enemy. Those simple low-level arrangements may be concluded by radio or by bearer of a white flag. Higher-level agreements must be concluded in writing (e.g. the establishment of demilitarized zones, or the flight of a medical aircraft over a large zone controlled by the enemy). 
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, §§ 2.6.a and 10.8.f.(3).
The manual adds:
A truce is defined as a temporary interruption of military operations, limited to a specific area and usually concluded between local commanders. It shall regularly serve a humanitarian purpose, to facilitate the removal, the exchange and transport of wounded left on the battlefield, for the evacuation or exchange of wounded and sick from a besieged area, and for the passage of medical and religious personnel and medical equipment on their way to such areas.
In addition to parlementaires, the parties in conflict may communicate through the mediation of the Protecting Powers …
If the parties in conflict have not agreed upon the designation of a Protecting Power, the ICRC, or any other impartial and efficient organization, may act as a “substitute”
One of the most usual missions of the military observers taking part in peacekeeping operations is to act as intermediaries between the parties to the conflict to facilitate the negotiation and implementation of local agreements. 
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, §§ 2.6.b.(1) and 2.6.c.(2)-(4).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
2.6. AGREEMENTS WITH THE ADVERSE PARTY
The parties to the conflict can conclude special agreements on specific matters, which are normally negotiated and approved by military bodies, although the involvement of civilian or political bodies is sometimes required. Such agreements may not restrict the protection established by the law of armed conflict for people and property. … Agreements can be made on whatever matters are deemed appropriate. The law of armed conflict does not specify which matters can be the subject of agreements, but expressly provides for the ones considered most relevant.
The military personnel of countries that agree to take part in peacekeeping operations can participate as military observers, with the mission of facilitating the negotiation and observance of local agreements and investigating violations of truces and ceasefires.
2.6.a. FORM OF AGREEMENTS
The parties to a conflict can also make verbal agreements, which are normally local, short-term or emergency agreements, such as local agreements to search for and collect the wounded after armed confrontations or an agreement for the flight of a medical aircraft over a small area controlled by the enemy, etc.
Agreements should be made in writing when they are broader in scope and long term, such as agreements for hospital zones, demilitarized zones, neutralized zones, non-defended localities, the flight of medical aircraft over large areas controlled by the enemy, the evacuation of an area under siege, etc.
2.6.b. AGREEMENTS AFFECTING HOSTILITIES
2.6.b.(1). Ceasefires
A ceasefire is a temporary cessation of military operations limited to a specific area and usually agreed between local commanders. They are normally established for humanitarian reasons to facilitate the removal, exchange and transport of the wounded left on the battlefield, the removal and exchange of the wounded and sick from a besieged or encircled area or for the passage of medical and religious personnel and equipment on their way to such areas.
All duly authorized ceasefires must be observed.
2.6.c.(2). Representatives of the Protecting Powers
In addition to the use of parlementaires, the parties to the conflict can also communicate with each other through the Protecting Powers.
2.6.c.(3). Delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross
If the parties to the conflict do not agree on the designation of a Protecting Power, the ICRC or any other impartial and effective humanitarian organization can act in its place as a “substitute”. 
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, §§ 2.6, 2.6.a, 2.6.b, 2.6.b.(1), 2.6.c.(2) and 2.6.c.(3).
The manual further states:
Commanders of opposing forces may establish agreements at any time, provided that they do not adversely affect the status of persons protected under international law. They can use whatever means they have at their disposal to this end. 
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, § 7.5.b.
The manual also states:
The representatives or delegates of the Protecting Power(s) and delegates of the ICRC or any other international humanitarian organization are entitled to the same status as parlementaires and the personnel of neutral States. 
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, § 5.2.a.(3).(b); see also § 7.5.c.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides: “Military commanders of both sides may, within the bounds of their authority, contact each other directly in their respective operation zones.” 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 12(1).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) states:
386. It is on occasions unavoidable – and often convenient – for commanders to open direct communication with the enemy for military purposes. Furthermore, humanity and convenience may at times induce them for special reasons to relax the general prohibition of intercourse between belligerents. …
387. It is essential that in such non-hostile relations the most scrupulous good faith should be observed by both parties, and that no advantage be taken which is not intended to be given by the enemy. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, §§ 386 and 387.
The manual also provides:
There is nothing in [Articles 32–34 of the 1907 Hague Regulations] which indicates that a white flag is the only method whereby one belligerent may signify to the other its desire to open communications. In modern conditions of warfare wireless messages and loud-speakers are also used as a means of conveying the wish of one belligerent to communicate with the other. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 394, footnote 2.
The manual further emphasizes:
420. A suspension of arms is essentially a military convention of very short duration, concluded between commanders of armies, or detachments in order to arrange some local matter of urgency: most frequently to bury the dead, or to collect and succour the wounded, or, occasionally, to exchange prisoners, to permit conferences.
497. A cartel, in the wider sense of the term, is issued to signify a convention concluded between belligerents for the purpose of permitting certain kinds of non-hostile intercourse which would otherwise be prevented by the conditions of war. For instance, communication by post, trade in certain commodities, and the like, may be agreed upon by a cartel. In its strictly military sense, however, a cartel means an agreement for the exchange of prisoners of war. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, §§ 420 and 497.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states:
It is within the legal competence of an officer to arrange for a temporary cease-fire for a specific and limited purpose, for example to permit the collection or evacuation of the wounded … Absolute good faith is required in all such dealings [the arrangement of a cease-fire] with the enemy. 
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 4, p. 17, § 18.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
Principle of Good Faith
10.2. Whenever there are non-hostile relations between parties to an armed conflict, those relations must be conducted with the utmost good faith and any agreement reached scrupulously observed. In particular, there should be no abuse of a flag of truce or emblems of identification in dealings between belligerents. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 10.2.
In its chapter on negotiations between belligerents, the manual further states:
Humanitarian arrangements to be specifically agreed may include … the provision of medical care or food supplies … An armistice agreement cannot take away the protection afforded to individuals under the law of armed conflict, though it can improve upon that protection. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 10.24.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) states: “Absolute good faith with the enemy must be observed as a rule of conduct.” 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 49.
The manual also states:
452. One belligerent may communicate with another directly by radio, through parlementaires, or in a conference, and indirectly through a Protecting Power, a third State other than a Protecting Power, or the International Committee of the Red Cross. …
453. It is absolutely essential in all nonhostile relations that the most scrupulous good faith shall be observed by both parties, and that no advantage not intended to be given by the adversary shall be taken.
458. In current practice, radio messages to the enemy and messages dropped by aircraft are becoming increasingly important as a prelude to conversations between representatives of belligerent forces.
469. In its narrower sense, a cartel is an agreement entered into by belligerents for the exchange of prisoners of war. In its broader sense, it is any convention concluded between belligerents for the purpose of arranging or regulating certain kinds of nonhostile intercourse otherwise prohibited by reason of the existence of the war. Both parties to a cartel are in honor bound to observe its provisions with the most scrupulous care, but it is voidable by either party upon definite proof that it has been intentionally violated in an important particular by the other party. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, §§ 452, 453, 458 and 469.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (2007) states: “The [1949] Geneva Conventions recognize the special status of the ICRC and have assigned specific tasks for it to perform, including … serv[ing] as a neutral intermediary between belligerents.” 
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, § 6.2.2.
Lebanon
Under Lebanon’s Code of Military Justice (1968), communication with the enemy by combatants is a punishable offence. 
Lebanon, Code of Military Justice, 1968, Article 124(2).
United States of America
The US Uniform Code of Military Justice (1950) punishes “any person … who communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly”. 
United States, Uniform Code of Military Justice, 1950, Article 104(2).
No data.
Australia
In 2009, in a ministerial statement before the House of Representatives on the situation in Sri Lanka, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stated: “Australia calls on the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to declare a temporary no-fire period to allow for the evacuation of civilians.” 
Australia, House of Representatives, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministerial statement: Situation in Sri Lanka, Hansard, 5 February 2009, p. 623.
Colombia
According to the Report on the Practice of Colombia, government practice has been to express publicly its willingness to enter into a dialogue with opposing armed groups for humanitarian reasons or to start negotiations. 
Report on the Practice of Colombia, 1998, Chapter 2.2.
During the takeover of the embassy of the Dominican Republic by the M-19 in 1980, direct contacts were established through the mediation of the Red Cross and of one of the detained ambassadors. The hostages were ultimately released and the guerrillas were allowed to leave the country. 
Report on the Practice of Colombia, 1998, Chapter 2.2, referring to Miguel A. Afanador Ulloa, Amnistías e indultos: la historia reciente, 1948-1992, Administrative Department of the Public Service of Colombia, Ed. Guadalupe Ltd., Santafé de Bogotá, 1993, p. 75.
Likewise, during the takeover of the Palacio de Justicia in 1985, direct communications were established by phone between the leader of the armed opposition group and an officer of the national police, although without success. In the meantime, military operations were not suspended. 
Colombia, Cundinamarca Administrative Court, Case No. 4010, Intervention by the Minister of Agriculture, Cabinet record, 7 November 1985, Record of evidence; Cundinamarca Administrative Court, Case No. 4010, Attestation by the Cabinet, 6 November 1985, Record of evidence.
Egypt
The Report on the Practice of Egypt gives armistice and cease-fire agreements with Israel as examples of negotiation with the enemy. 
Report on the Practice of Egypt, 1997, Chapter 2.2.
Georgia
According to the Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation, Georgia appealed to “the authority of the leader of the autonomous Republic of Adzharia, who negotiated directly with the Abkhaz authorities” to obtain the release of prisoners. 
Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation, 1997, Chapter 2.2.
Jordan
Jordan has negotiated several temporary cease-fire agreements with the Palestinian resistance. The Report on the Practice of Jordan mentions two of them concluded in 1970. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 2.2, referring to Cease-fire Agreement between the Jordanian Government and the Palestinian Resistance Movement, 7 July 1970; Cairo Agreement between the Jordanian Government and the Palestinian Resistance Movement, 27 September 1970.
Philippines
According to the Report on the Practice of the Philippines, “government troops are directed to negotiate with the rebels in cases of armed confrontation”. 
Report on the Practice of the Philippines, 1997, Chapter 2.2.
The report also notes that, owing to the guerrilla nature of the conflict, negotiations between government troops and the armed opposition are usually carried out through third parties (local political and religious leaders). Cease-fires are, for example, negotiated to prevent economic disturbances or during Christian holiday celebrations. 
Report on the Practice of the Philippines, 1997, Chapter 2.2, referring to Romy Elusfa, CHR Stung by AFP Rejection, Today, 12 April 1997; Ali G. Macabalang and Cena de Guzman, Gov’t, MILF Reach Accord on Dam Dispute, Manila Bulletin, 30 January 1995; Farm Pact Forged with MILF Bared, Manila Bulletin, 10 June 1996; Aris R. Ilagan, AFP Optimistic on Truce with NPA: Holiday Ceasefire on, Manila Bulletin, 25 December 1993.
Rwanda
On the basis of replies by army officers to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Rwanda mentions the use of the telephone and the sending of intermediaries, such as neutral civilian emissaries with a written authorization (the ICRC, OAU, non-governmental organizations, religious leaders, journalists or members of peacekeeping forces), as means of communication between the parties in battlefield negotiations. 
Report on the Practice of Rwanda, 1997, Replies by army officers to a questionnaire, Chapter 2.2.
Switzerland
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states:
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is an immediate halt or end to hostilities. This military concept refers to both agreements negotiated between the parties to a conflict and the unilateral termination of all military activity by one of the parties, possibly for a specified period of time or in a specified area. 
Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ABC of International Humanitarian Law, 2009, p. 9.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
On the basis of a meeting with an army lawyer, the Report on UK Practice comments that negotiation with the enemy “is a tricky area now” owing to the practicalities of fast-paced modern warfare. 
Report on UK Practice, 1997, Meeting with an army lawyer, 18 July 1997, Chapter 2.2.
United States of America
According to a memorandum of a legal adviser of the US Department of State in 1975, the president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the constitutional authority to conclude armistices and other agreements relating to the military security of the United States. 
United States, Legal Adviser to the Department of State, Memorandum of Law on the authority of the US President to enter into international agreements pursuant to his independent constitutional powers, 31 October 1975, reprinted in Eleanor C. McDowell, Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 1975, Department of State Publication 8865, Washington, D.C., 1976, pp. 314-315.
United States of America
The Report on US Practice states:
The need to seek express authority to negotiate an agreement with the enemy … has been reinforced by the erosion, since the end of World War II, of distinctions between political agreements, such as peace treaties, and purely military agreements, such as truces and armistices … [The Air Force Pamphlet] noted that the practice of concluding peace treaties had become rare, and that armistices had often become functional substitutes for peace treaties. The term “cease fire” was increasingly used for agreements that would once have been designated armistices.
Modern combat conditions may also make it more difficult to communicate directly with an enemy armed force.
US commanders have little inherent authority to negotiate with the enemy, and unauthorized communications with the enemy may be a military offense. The practice of the United States no longer recognizes any clear category of agreements as purely military without political overtones. 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 2.2. (The report notes that general armistices often include political provisions, and therefore require high-level approval.)
Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of
The Report on the Practice of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia notes that, during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, there were no large military operations in Slovenia that could have triggered negotiations with the enemy on the battlefield and that “it is hardly realistic that traditional requirements of the international law of warfare would have been respected” in the conflict in Croatia. The report concludes that the opinio juris of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia “is, beyond any doubt, that a legal possibility exists to contact the enemy on the battlefield”. 
Report on the Practice of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1997, Chapter 2.2.
Zimbabwe
According to the Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, it is the opinion of the Judge Advocate General of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe that, although there is no actual practice, “both the traditional and modern methods [of communication] are likely to be acceptable”. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 2.2.
No data.
No data.
No data.
No data.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that:
Contacts between opposing armed forces can be taken at any time by the commanders concerned. They can be established by all available technical means.
When direct contacts between commanders or contacts through bearers of flag of truce or similar persons are not possible, commanders may also ask for cooperation from the Protecting Power or from intermediaries such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Commanders of opposing armed forces may conclude agreements at any time. Such agreements shall not adversely affect the situation of war victims as defined by international treaties.
Very local, short term or urgent agreements can be concluded orally (e.g. local agreements for the search of wounded after combat action, isolated overflight of a small enemy controlled area by medical aircraft).
Long lasting and large scale agreements need to be concluded in writing (e.g. neutralized zones, non-defended localities, overflight of a large enemy controlled area by medical aircraft, agreement for the evacuation of a besieged area). For such agreements, inspiration can be taken from detailed provisions foreseen by the law of war (e.g. hospital zones, demilitarized and non-defended zones and localities). 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, §§ 539 and 541–544.
No data.