Parties to the conflict can have an interest in reporting civilians that they have killed as combatants for propaganda purposes, in order to avoid criticism, or to conceal war crimes.
Some recorders report that state perpetrators tamper with evidence about incidents in order to make it appear that the casualties were combatant when they were not, for example, by ensuring bodies were found with weapons or in uniforms. Alternatively, state perpetrators may register the death of a supposedly unknown combatant victim and conduct a burial far from the family’s residence, in order to conceal the status and identity of that victim, who was in fact a civilian. Both state and non-state perpetrators also use more straightforward tactics of misinformation, such as publicly announcing the deaths of supposed combatants, who were in fact civilians.
DEFINITION AND CATEGORISATION IN CASUALTY RECORDING, pp. 23-24