Practice Relating to Rule 3. Definition of Combatants
The Report on the Practice of Rwanda (1997) refers to a statement 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. Hence, the report concludes that in an internal armed conflict combatants are defined as persons who carry arms and/or commit inhumane acts against the population in relation to the hostilities and that the wearing or not of a uniform has no significance in this respect.
On the basis of replies by Rwandan army officers to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Rwanda states that religious and medical military personnel can neither be considered as combatants, nor as civilians. In case of detention among prisoners of war, they must be afforded special treatment.