This website is not affiliated with the U.S. government or military.

Identify the key elements of the Hague and Geneva Conventions that pertain to small unit combat operations


Click here to download presentation

Enabling Learning Objective A

Identify the key elements of the Hague and Geneva Conventions that pertain to small unit combat operations.

Unlawful Targets

The attack of noncombatants and protected

property is illegal.


Protected Property

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.











Civilians are persons who are not members of the enemy’s armed forces and who do not take part in the hostilities.

Wounded and Sick

Soldiers who have fallen by reason of sickness or wounds and who cease to fight are to be respected and protected.

Shipwrecked members of the armed forces at sea are to be respected and protected.

Shipwrecked includes downed passengers/crews on aircraft, ships in peril and castaways.

Hors de combat

Soldiers that are Hors de Combat are enemy personnel who are “out of combat”.

Examples are:

1. Wounded and Sick

2. Prisoners of War

3. Parachutists- Parachutists of disabled


4. Medical Personnel

Prisoners of War

Captors must respect (not attack) and protect (care for) those who surrender.

Surrender may be made by any means that communicates the intent to give up.

Parachutists Of Disabled

Parachutists who are crewmen of a disabled aircraft are presumed to be out of combat and may not be targeted unless it is apparent they are engaged on a hostile mission.

Exception- paratroopers are presumed to be on a military mission and therefore may be targeted.

Medical Personnel

1. Medical personnel of the Armed Forces.

( a.)Doctors, nurses, surgeons, chemist, stretcher bearers, Medics,

Corpsman, and orderlies who are exclusively engaged in the direct care of the wounded and sick.

( b.) Administrative staffs of medical units (drivers, generator operators and cooks).

(c.) Chaplains.

2. Auxiliary Medical Personnel of the Armed Forces.

Those persons who have received “special training” and are carrying out their medical duties when they come in contact with the enemy.

3. Relief Society.

personnel of the National Red Cross Society and other recognized relief Societies.

Personnel of relief societies of neutral countries.


Protected as a noncombatants provided they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians.

Lawful Use of Force:

Military Necessity: actions not forbidden by law and indispensable for the submission of the enemy.

Humanity : minimization of incidental injury, collateral damage, and suffering.

Proportionality : suffering must not be disproportionate to the direct and concrete military advantage gained.

Discrimination: attacks must be directed against a specific, military target.

Protected Property

Civilian Property

Cultural Property


Universities, Colleges, Schools

Historical Monuments


Buildings dedicated to Charities (such as Orphanages)

Cultural Property Emblems

Protected Medical Transports
and Facilities


Hospital Ships

Medical Aircraft

MEDIVAC Helicopters



Mobile (Tents)

Treachery and Perfidy

Misuse of the Red Cross

Misuse of a Flag of Truce

Misuse of enemy uniforms, flags, nation emblems or insignia

Misuse of cultural property

Pretending to be a civilian

Pretending to surrender

Pretending to be wounded

Pretending to be a United Nations Peacekeeper.

Misuse of Red Cross, Red Crescent and Cultural Property Symbols

Use of these symbols is restricted to facilities or transport exclusively engaged in medical duties or recognized cultural property.

Law of War provides that wounded and sick, hospitals, medical vehicles, and in some cases, medical aircraft be respected and protected.

Feigning Surrender

Feigning surrender or intent to negotiate under a flag of truce.

A white flag is an indication of a desire to negotiate only and its holder has the burden to come forward.

Remember the Falklands War scenario.

Use of Enemy Property

Combatants may wear enemy uniforms (for example, to infiltrate) but cannot fight in them.

Military personnel not wearing their uniform lose their PW status if captured and risk being treated as spies.

Cultural Property

Misuse of cultural property will subject the property to attack.

Feigning incapacitation by wounds/ sickness.

Feigning protected status by usingUN, neutral, or nations not party tothe conflict’s signs, emblems, or uniforms.

Bosnian Serb example

Acts that cause
Unnecessary Suffering

It is especially forbidden to employ arms, projectiles or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering.

Use of Expanding Bullets

Hollow Points

Use of Non-detectable Fragments

Glass or Plastic Munitions

Use of Poison (Chemical)

Nerve Agents, Blister Agents, Blood Agents

Altering Weapons


Weapons may be illegal

Per se

By improper use

By agreement or prohibited by specific treaties

Hollow point ammunition


Chemical Weapons

Altering Lawful Weapons

Requirements to protect prisoners of War and detainees.

Search the POW

Silence the POW

Segregate the POW

Safeguard the POW

Speed to the rear.

Examples of Measures Designed to Protect Civilian Property from the
Consequences of Combat.

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.

Use real or artificial observation assets for indirect fire missions.

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 targeted.

Take all reasonable steps to shield civilians from unintentional harm.

Never take civilian property without both a military need and appropriation procedures.

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 card

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 War

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.

Requirements to Report Law of War Violations


DOD Law of War Program

CJCSI 5810-01

Implementation of DOD LOW Program

FM 27-10, para. 507

Department Of the Army Law of Land Warfare

Enabling Learning Objective B

Identify action to prevent violation of the Law of War.

Protect Noncombatants and Civilians from the Consequences of Combat

Do not directly attack.

Warn prior to bombardment.

Evacuate from Combat Zone.

Separate from Military Objectives.


Use protective emblems for cultural or medical properties.

DO NOT loot or pillage.

Separate protected property or non-military property form military objectives.

Employ observed fire.

Examples of protecting POWs

Removing them from the battlefield as soon as practicable.

Segregate men and women POWs

Shield them from public curiosity and abuse.

Provide medical treatment based upon medical needs only; no adverse distinction because they are POWs

Protect Medical Facilities and Transports

Respect the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Emblems

Allow medical personnel to guard and protect wounded with individual weapons

Separate from military objectives

Refrain from using for “Acts Harmful to the Enemy”

Prevent Engagement of
Unlawful Targets

Know and respect symbols for protected persons and property.

Do not attack noncombatants or protected property.

Do not fire indiscriminately.

Use observed fires.

Follow the Rules of Engagement.

Actions to Prevent Excessive Use of Force

Target specific, military objectives.

Take reasonable steps to minimize collateral damage.

Prevent Unauthorized use of Medical Services Symbols,
Flag of Truce.

Use symbols of protected status for their intended purposes only.

Respect the proper use of a flag of truce.

DO NOT fight in enemy uniforms.

Prevent Unnecessary Destruction and Seizure of Property

Ensure soldiers understand that civilian property may not be seized or destroyed without imperative military necessity.

Ensure receipts are provided by an officer for any seized property.

Ensure any requisitions of property are authorized by the local commander.

Prevent Unnecessary Suffering and Harm

Minimize incidental injury to civilians.

DO NOT use weapons indiscriminately.

Employ observed fire.

DO NOT use unlawful weapons.

POWs must:

Inform their captors of their name, rank, service number, and date of birth.

Obey all lawful rules established by their captor.

Perform labor consistent with one’s rank, that does not support the war effort and is not humiliating, dangerous, or unhealthy.

How do I report a War Crime ?

As soon as possible, report, in writing or orally, the event you believe to be a war crime violation to your Commander, the Chaplain, IG, JA or next immediate Commander depending on who may be involved.

Look to specific regulations put out by your Command Headquarters.

Privacy Policy | About Us | FAQ | Terms of Service | Disclaimers | Do Not Sell My Personal Information (CA and NV residents)

Copyright © 2023 EducationDynamics. All Rights Reserved.

This is a private website that is not affiliated with the U.S. government, U.S. Armed Forces or Department of Veteran Affairs. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. This site is not connected with any government agency. If you would like to find more information about benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, please visit the official U.S. government web site for veterans’ benefits at

The sponsored schools featured on this site do not include all schools that accept GI Bill® funding or VA Benefits. To contact ArmyStudyGuide, email us.

Disclosure: EducationDynamics receives compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”). So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking. Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study. By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.

VFW $30,000 Scholarship!
Write an essay on the annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, “Why Is The Veteran Important?”