Developing combat status definitions

Recorders who developed their own combat status definitions generally considered a combination of what the victim was doing at the moment of their death, and their membership of any armed group or armed forces.

Some casualty recorders develop their own definitions of who they consider to be civilian and combatant. Most definitions conform to International Humanitarian Law, or are inspired by its principles, but are not specifically based on it.

  • One recorder considered members of the national armed forces who were off-duty to be civilian;
  • Another considered members of armed groups who were not taking part in combat at the time of their death but were going about their normal civilian life to be civilian. If the concept of a ‘continuous combat function’ is valid these individuals should be considered combatant. This is a noted ambiguity in non-international armed conflicts;
  • Another considered that foreign civilian contractors who did not have a combat function should not be considered civilian, because they put themselves in danger for the sake of making money.