Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions contains detailed rules concerning provisions for missing persons including recording of information. There are specific provisions on searching for the missing and the recording of deaths.
Additional Protocol I of 1977, Articles 33 and 34
Article 33.-Missing persons
- As soon as circumstances permit, and at the latest from the end of active hostilities, each Party to the conflict shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse Party.
- The Parties to the conflict shall endeavour to agree on arrangements for teams to search for, identify and recover the dead from battlefield areas, including arrangements, if appropriate, for such teams to be accompanied by personnel of the adverse Party while carrying out the missions in areas controlled by the adverse Party. Personnel of such teams shall be respected and protected while exclusively carrying out these duties. Article 34.-Remains of deceased
- The remains of persons who have died for reasons related to occupation or in detention resulting from occupation or hostilities and those of persons not nationals of the country in which they have died as a result of hostilities shall be respected, and the gravesites of all such persons shall be respected, maintained and marked.
- As soon as circumstances and the relations between the adverse Parties permit, the High Contracting Parties in whose territories graves and, as the case may be, other locations of the remains of persons who have died as a result of hostilities or during occupation or in detention are situated, shall conclude agreements in order to facilitate access to the gravesites by relatives of the deceased and by representatives of official graves registration services and to regulate the practical arrangements for such access; to protect and maintain such gravesites permanently; to facilitate the return of the remains of the deceased and of personal effects to the home country upon its request or, unless that country objects, upon the request of the next of kin.
DISCUSSION PAPER 2: DRONE ATTACKS, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND THE RECORDING OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OF ARMED CONFLICT, pp. 16-17