Practice Relating to Rule 6. Civilians’ Loss of Protection from Attack
Rwanda’s Law Repressing the Crime of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes (2003) provides:
The persons protected by the Geneva Convention[s] of 12 August 1949 and [their] Additional Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977 are the following:
1° the civilian population;
Civilians acting like soldiers are not protected by this article.
Civilians behaving like soldiers are not protected under this Article.
On the basis of replies by army officers to a questionnaire, the Report on the Practice of Rwanda states that unarmed civilians who follow their armed forces during an international armed conflict in order to provide them with food, transport munitions or carry messages, for example, lose their status as civilians. In the context of an internal armed conflict, however, unarmed civilians who collaborate with one of the parties to the conflict always remain civilians. According to the report, this distinction is justified by the fact that in internal armed conflicts, civilians are forced to cooperate with the party that holds them in its power.