Law of
• What is the law of war
• Purpose of the law of war
• Who are Noncombatants
• Basis for the law of war
• Lawful and unlawful targets
•Protection of Civilian Property
• Prisoner of War
• Treatment of Captured Personnel
• Lawful and unlawful orders
• Rules of Engagement (ROE)
What is the Law of
• The law of war governs the actions of
combatants in combat and police actions
whether or not war is declared
•The law of war places limits on the exercise of a
belligerent's power and requires them to refrain
from employing a degree of violence not actually
necessary for military purposes and that they
conduct hostilities with regard for principles of
humanity and chivalry
The conduct of armed hostilities on land is regulated by
the law of land warfare which is both written and
unwritten. It is inspired by the desire to diminish the
evils of war by:
1. Protecting both combatants and noncombatants
from unnecessary suffering
2. Safeguarding certain fundamental human rights
of persons who fall into the hands of the enemy,
particularly prisoners of war, the wounded and
sick, and civilians
3. Facilitating the restoration of peace
Basis For Law of War
International Treaties
• Hague Conventions, 1906
- Governs the actual conduct of fighting
• Geneva Conventions, 1949 and
1977 Protocols
1. Protection of POW’s
2. Protection of Civilians
3. Protection of Wounded and Sick
Unlawful Targets
The attack of noncombatants and
protected property is illegal
Lawful Targets
• Combatants
– a combatant is any one engaging in hostilities in an
armed conflict on behalf of a party to the conflict.
• Military Objectives
– A combatant, a dependent place, and those objects
which by their nature, location, purpose or use, make
an effective contribution to military action.
• Incidental Injury and Collateral Damage
– Unavoidable and unplanned damage to civilian
personnel and property incurred while attacking a
military objective.
Protection of Civilian Property
(1 of 2)
• It is always unlawful to intentionally target civilians or
civilian property
• Combatants should take all reasonable steps to shield
civilians and their property from the unintended
consequences of combat (Collateral Damage)
• Civilian Property may only be taken for a legitimate
military need
• Make minimization of collateral damage a key factor in
the targeting process
• Do not treat several military targets located in a general
civilian area as one large target
Protection of Civilian Property
(2 of 2)
• Use real or artificial observation assets for indirect fire
• Civilian Property may only be taken for a legitimate
military need.
• Treat all non-uniformed personnel not attempting to
cause direct injury to your force as civilians.
• Civilians and civilian property must never be intentionally
• Take all reasonable steps to shield civilians from
unintentional harm.
• Never take civilian property without both a military need
and appropriation procedures.
Requirements to Protect
Prisoners of War
Search the POW
Silence the POW
Segregate the POW
Safeguard the POW
Speed to the rear
POWs have the right to
• Receive food, shelter and clothing
adequate to stay in good health
• Receive medical care
• Send and receive mail
• Keep personal property except
weapons, military equipment and
certain documents
• Retain their military identification
POWs have the right to
• To be provided copy of the Geneva
Conventions in their native language
• To complain to the camp commander
about camp conditions
• Practice their religion
• Due process in trials for any offenses
committed while in captivity
Duties towards Prisoners of
• Afford POW protections until directed otherwise
by the appropriate commander
• Treat with Respect and Honor
– respect their sex (separate men from women)
– Respect their religion
• Evacuate POWs in a humane manner
• Provide adequate food, clothing , and shelter
• Provide medical care as necessary
Treatment of Captured
• Humane Treatment
• Torture and Coercion
• Physical Torture
• Mental Torture
• Equal Treatment
Humane Treatment
Everyone is Entitled
No Degrading or Humiliating Treatment
Protected From Violence & Intimidation
Shielded From Insults & Public
Given Respect for Their Persons &
No Reprisals Allowed
Torture and Coercion
• POWs may NOT be threatened, insulted, or
exposed to disadvantageous treatment of
ANY kind
• Torture
- The infliction of intense pain to body or mind to
extract a confession or information, or for
sadistic pleasure
• Coercion
- Actions designed to unlawfully induce another
to commit an act against one’s will
Physical Torture
• Electric Shock
• Pain Through Chemicals
• Pain Through Bondage
• Legitimate Use of Restraints to Prevent
• Forced to Stand, Sit, or Kneel in Abnormal
Positions for Prolonged Periods of Time
• Food Deprivation
• Any Form of Beating
Mental Torture
• Mock Executions
• Abnormal Sleep Deprivations
• Chemically Induced Psychosis
• Threatening or Implying Physical or Mental
Torture to the Subject, His Family, or Others to
Whom He Owes Loyalty
• Intentionally Denying Medical Assistance or
Care in Exchange for Information Sought or
Other Cooperation
• Threatening or Implying that Other Rights
Guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions Will
NOT be Provided Unless Cooperation is
Equal Treatment
• Required Regardless of Race, Religious
Beliefs, Nationality, Political Opinions, or Other
Distinctions Based on Similar Criteria
• May Be Segregated in Order to Maintain Order
in the Camp, to Impose Punishment, for
Medical Reasons or Protection
• Women must have separate facilities and be
treated as favorably as men
Lawful and Unlawful Orders
• Not all orders are lawful
• Do not have to follow unlawful or
unethical orders
• Always have right to self defense
• Examples
Rules of Engagement
• Ensure compliance of law of land
• Shaped to each specific mission
(SFOR5, OIF, fall FTX)
• Will have a different ROE each time
you deploy
Operation Paint Ball Pursuit
Use minimum force necessary to accomplish your mission
Hostile forces who want to surrender will not be harmed
Movement or fire outside of the area of operations is forbidden
Armed personnel not in Caquetan uniforms are friendly forces
and not to be engaged
Use only minimum force necessary to defend yourself
You may open fire upon an individual who fires or orients any
form of weapon in your direction
You may open fire upon an individual who attempts to take
possession of friendly force weapons, munitions or protected
property including prisoners of war.
Do not fire your weapon within five (5) feet of your target
Do not fire your weapon at friendly forces
Do not attempt to modify your weapon in any manner
• What is the law of war
• Purpose of the law of war
• Who are Noncombatants
• Basis for the law of war
• Lawful and unlawful targets
•Protection of Civilian Property
• Prisoner of War
• Treatment of Captured Personnel
• Lawful and unlawful orders
• Rules of Engagement (ROE)