Practice relating to Rule 66. Non-Hostile Contacts between the Parties to the Conflict
Section B. Use of the white flag of truce
Switzerland’s Aide-Memoire on the Ten Basic Rules of the Law of Armed Conflict (2005) states:
I remain fair:
- I shall use the … white flag … in accordance with the rules (cf. Rule 10).These also protect my comrades and me;
I am familiar with the international protective signs and their meaning.
The Aide-Memoire further states with regard to the white flag:
- The White Flag clearly indicates willingness to negotiate, sometimes even willingness to surrender;
- Respect bearers of the White Flag. They are not allowed to be attacked.
- Attacks against bearers of the White Flag;
- Improper use of the White Flag in order to achieve a military advantage.
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states: “The white flag
indicates that the enemy wants to negotiate. It can also indicate that the enemy wishes to surrender. Persons, buildings and vehicles marked with the white flag must not be attacked.”
Switzerland’s ABC of International Humanitarian Law (2009) states: “Other emblems with a protective function include the white flag for Combatants
who wish to parley or surrender … . Improper use of these emblems is prohibited by law.”