Practice Relating to Rule 47. Attacks against Persons Hors de Combat
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) states: “It is prohibited to kill or injure an adversary who … is hors de combat
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) provides: “It is prohibited to attack … an adversary … who is hors de combat
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states: “A person who is recognized or who, in the circumstances, should be recognized to be hors de combat
shall not be made the object of attack.”
France’s Penal Code (1992), as amended in 2010, states in its section on war crimes common to both international and non-international armed conflicts:
Causing serious injury to the physical integrity of a combatant from the adverse party who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered, is punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment.
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, states that under international conventions it is prohibited “to fire at, injure or kill an enemy who surrenders or who is captured”, as well as “to refuse an unconditional surrender”.
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) provides: “It is prohibited to kill or wound an adversary who surrenders.”
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) provides: “It is prohibited to attack, kill or wound an adversary who surrenders.” It adds: “Prisoners shall be spared.”
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) incorporates the content of Article 41 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. The manual adds: “Any intention to surrender must be clearly expressed: by raising hands, throwing down weapons or waving a white flag.”
France’s Code of Defence (2004), as amended in 2008, states:
Combatants must respect and treat with humanity all persons protected by the applicable international conventions …
Prisoners of war … [and] the wounded, sick and shipwrecked … are protected persons …
The protected persons are protected as long as they abstain from taking a direct part in hostilities.
It is prohibited for combatants to deliberately target protected persons.
The Code of Defence also states: “Combatants shall not kill or wound an enemy combatant who is hors de combat
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states: “When the capturing unit is not able to evacuate its prisoners or to keep them until the evacuation is possible, the unit must free them while guaranteeing its own and the prisoners’ security.”
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France stated that it considered that the term “feasible” as used in the Protocol meant “that which can be realized or which is possible in practice, taking into account all circumstances ruling at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations”.