Within International Humanitarian Law also known as the jus in bello, there are extensive obligations to account for military casualties in armed conflict. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 are now universally ratified and therefore it is arguable that the provisions respecting the dead are customary international law binding not only on States but on non-state actors.
Geneva Convention I for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field1949, 75 UNTS 31. Parties to the conflict shall record as soon as possible, in respect of each wounded, sick or dead person of the adverse Party falling into their hands, any particulars which may assist in his identification.
These records should if possible include:
- Designation of the Power on which he depends;
- Army, regimental, personal or serial number;
- First name or names;
- Date of birth;
- Any other particulars shown on his identity card or disc ;
- Date and place of capture or death;
- Particulars concerning wounds or illness, or cause of death.
DISCUSSION PAPER 2: DRONE ATTACKS, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND THE RECORDING OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OF ARMED CONFLICT, p. 16