Some recorders who use the definitions and categories found in IHL report that these do not give them enough clarity on all questions of combat status, as in cases of 'armed civilians'.
Recorders find that there are ambiguities around issues such as:
- When the actions of armed civilians should be counted as participation in hostilities. For example, whether a civilian whose private house was under attack should be considered as having died a combatant if he was killed defending it. Recorders have also found that the status of civilian militias – communities organised to protect their local areas from the conflict parties where they felt the state was unable to do this – was also ambiguous.
- Soldiers who were not participating in hostilities or off duty or on leave at the time of their death.
DEFINITION AND CATEGORISATION IN CASUALTY RECORDING, p. 24