Furthermore under the ICRC's Guidance, there is consideration of direct participation by civilians who might not be members of an organised armed group. In that case each specific act by a civilian must meet three cumulative requirements to constitute Direct Participation in Hostilities.
- There must be a “threshold of harm” that is objectively likely to result from the act, either by adversely impacting the military operations or capacity of the opposing party, or by causing the loss of life or property of protected civilian persons or objects; and
- The act must cause the expected harm directly, in one step, for example, as an integral part of a specific and coordinated combat operation (as opposed to harm caused in unspecified future operations); and
- The act must have a “belligerent nexus” – i.e., it must be specifically designed to support the military operations of one party to the detriment of another.
Civilians lose their immunity from attack when they directly participate in an armed conflict and it can be argued that they can be targeted for so long as they participate.
DISCUSSION PAPER 2: DRONE ATTACKS, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND THE RECORDING OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OF ARMED CONFLICT, pp. 14-15