Regulations. Implementing LOW guidance for U.S. Armed Forces is found in respective service regulations. (FM 27-10
(Army), NWP 1-14M/FMFM 1-10 (Navy and Marine Corps), and AFP AFPD 51-4 (Air Force).)
THE CONDUCT OF HOSTILTIES
Lawful Combatants and Unprivileged Belligerents
Combatants. Anyone engaging in hostilities in an armed conflict on behalf of a party to the conflict. Combatants are
lawful targets unless "out of combat."
Lawful Combatants. Receive protections of Geneva Conventions, specifically, the GWS, GWS (Sea), and GPW;
gain "combatant immunity" for their warlike acts; and become prisoners of war if captured.
Geneva Convention of 1949 Definition. (GPW, art. 4; GWS, art. 13.) Combatants include: armed forces of a
Party to the conflict; militia, volunteer corps, and organized resistance movements belonging to a Party to the conflict that
are under responsible command, wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and
abide by the laws of war; and members of armed forces of a government not recognized by a detaining authority or
Protocol I Definition. Article 43 states that members of the armed forces of a party to the conflict, except
medical personnel and chaplains, are combatants. Article 44(3) of GP I allows that a belligerent attains combatant status
by merely carrying his arms openly during each military engagement, and when visible to an adversary while deploying
for an attack. GP I thus drops the requirement for a fixed recognizable sign. The U.S. believes this does not reflect
customary international law and diminishes the distinction between combatants and civilians, thus undercutting the
effectiveness of the Law of War.
Unprivileged belligerents. May be treated as criminals under the domestic law of the captor. Unprivileged
belligerents may include spies, saboteurs, or civilians who are participating in the hostilities.
Forbidden Conduct with Respect to Enemy Combatants and Nationals
It is especially forbidden to declare that no quarter will be given, or to kill or injure enemy personnel who have
surrendered. H. IV Reg. Art. 23. It is also forbidden to kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile
nation or armed forces. H. IV Reg. Art. 23. Belligerents are likewise prohibited to compel nationals of the enemy state to
take part in hostilities against their own country. H. IV art. 23.
Assassination. Hiring assassins, putting a price on the enemy's head, and offering rewards for an enemy
"dead or alive" is prohibited. (FM 27-10, para 31; E.O. 12333.) Targeting military leadership, however, is not
assassination. See W. Hays Parks, Memorandum of Law: Executive Order 12333 and Assassination, Army Law. Dec.
1989, at 4.
Non-combatants. The law of war prohibits attacks on non-combatants. Among others, non-combatants include
civilians, medical personnel, chaplains, and those out of combat including prisoners of war and the wounded and sick.
METHODS AND MEANS OF WARFARE/WEAPONS
"The rights of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited." (HR, art. 22.)
Legal Review. All U.S. weapons, weapons systems, and munitions must be reviewed by the service TJAG for legality
under the law of war. (DoD Instr. 5000.2, AR 27-53, AFI 51-402 and SECNAVINST 5711.8A.) A review occurs before
the award of the engineering and manufacturing development contract and again before the award of the initial production
contract. (DoD Instr. 5000.2) Legal review of new weapons is also required under Article 36 of GP I.
The Test. Is the acquisition and procurement of the weapon consistent with all applicable treaties, customary
international law, and the law of armed conflict? (DoD Instr. 5000.2, para. 18.104.22.168.4.) In the TJAG reviews, the
Law of War