Practice Relating to Rule 4. Definition of Armed Forces
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended in 1982, states:
Soldiers in combat must not consider members of the armed forces or volunteer militias, including organized resistance movements, as combatants unless they are under a responsible command, wear a distinctive sign, carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) states: “Every member of a paramilitary force or a partisan recognizable by a fixed distinctive sign and carrying arms openly is considered as a combatant.”
The instructions given to the French armed forces for the conduct of Opération Mistral, simulating a military operation under the right of self-defence or a mandate of the UN Security Council, state: “Armed forces that are subject to the law of war consist of all organized units and their personnel, under a command which is responsible for the conduct of its subordinates.”
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France informed the States party to the 1977 Additional Protocol I that its armed forces permanently include the Gendarmerie