Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe he is entitled to, or is obliged to grant, protection under the rules of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:

  1. feigning an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce;
  2. feigning surrender;
  3. feigning incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
  4. feigning civilian or non-combatant status;
  5. feigning protective status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of a neutral or other State not party to the conflict;
  6. making improper use of the emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red crystal.

Under international humanitarian law, it is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy.   See Ruses of war;





Suggested readings:   FLECK Dieter, “Ruses of War and Prohibition of Perfidy”, in RDMDG, Vol. 13/2, 1974, pp. 269-314.   HALL Mary T., “False Colors and Dummy Ships: The Use of Ruse in Naval Warfare”, in Readings on International Law from the Naval War College Review, 1995, pp. 491-500.     Further readings:   HECHT Ben, Perfidy, New York, Messner, 1961, 281 pp.   JOBST Valentine, “Is the Wearing of the Enemy’s Uniform a Violation of the Laws of War?”, in AJIL, Vol. 35/3, 1941, pp. 435-442.