Inclusions and exclusions of casualties

There are casualty recorders who include every casualty of a conflict, however others restrict their records to include only civilians, or missing persons, or buried in mass graves, casualties caused by one conflict party, casualties caused by certain weapons, casualties recorded in the course of the organisation's main work.

The reasons why recorders restrict who they record relates either to their objectives in recording/the type of work that they do, or their access to information. Those who document violence committed by only one conflict party do so to draw attention to that party’s conduct. Recorders who document casualties caused by certain weapons or types of attacks seek to draw attention to the effects of these particular types of violence. Most of those who only record the deaths of civilians are concerned with highlighting the conflict’s effects on civilians for purposes of advocacy, or are concerned with ensuring the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Some of those who try to record every casualty stress the equality of all human life, as well as the need to avoid any accusations of bias.