The following persons are protected by international humanitarian law:

  1. wounded, sick and shipwrecked members of the armed forces who have ceased to take part in the hostilities;
  2. prisoners of war;
  3. civilian persons who because of a conflict or occupation are in the power of a Party whose nationality they do not possess;
  4. medical and religious personnel;
  5. parlementaires;
  6. civil defence personnel;
  7. personnel assigned to the protection of cultural property.

  “Protected persons” in this website refers to persons who are protected under the fourth Geneva Convention. The basic definition of protected persons under the fourth Geneva Convention is the following: "Protected persons" are civilians who find themselves in the hands of a party to the conflict of which they are not nationals. The fourth Convention excludes the nationals of some States from the category of protected persons, because presumably their State of origin can protect them through the ordinary diplomatic means that apply in times of peace and continue to apply during an armed conflict:

  1. First, in the own territory of a party to the conflict, the category of protected persons excludes nationals of a co-belligerent (allied) or neutral State as long as the State of nationality maintains normal diplomatic representation with the State in whose hands they are in.
  2. Second, in occupied territory, the category of protected persons excludes only nationals of a co-belligerent (allied) State provided that the State of nationality maintains normal diplomatic representation with the Occupying Power. The nationals of neutral states remain protected persons in occupied territory.




Netherlands, In re Pilz

Case Study, Armed Conflicts in the former Yugoslavia (2, 9, and 15)

Former Yugoslavia, Special Agreements Between the Parties to the Conflicts

ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Tadic (Part A., Para. 81; Part C., Paras 163-169)

ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Rajic (Part A., Paras. 34-37)

ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Blaskic (Part A., Paras. 127-146)

Switzerland, Military Tribunal of Division 1, Acquittal of G.

Case Study, Armed Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region (Part III.)

Colombia, Constitutionality of IHL Implementing Legislation (Paras. D.3.3.1.-5.4.3., Para. E.1)

United States, Trial of John Phillip Walker Lindh

Georgia/Russia: Tbilisi Nervously Eyes Russia’s Border Barricade of South Ossetia

Israel, Blockade of Gaza and the Flotilla Incident

Afghanistan, Attack on Kunduz Trauma Centre

ICRC, International Humanitarian Law and the challenges of contemporary armed conflicts in 2015 (Paras. 88-90)

USA, Al-Shimari v. CACI Premier Technology, Inc.

USA, Guantánamo, End of "Active Hostilities" in Afghanistan

Iraq: Situation of Internally Displaced Persons

Italy, Use of force against ambulances in Iraq

ECJ, Aboubacar Diakité v. Commissaire général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides

Germany, Aerial Drone Attack in Mir Ali/Pakistan

United States of America, Military Commissions Trial Judiciary, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: United States of America v. Khalid Shaikh Mohammad et al.

Syria, Syrian rebels treat captured Filipino soldiers as 'guests'

South Sudan, Attack in Malakal UN Protection Site

Central African Republic/Democratic Republic of Congo/Uganda, LRA attacks

Central African Republic, Coup d'Etat

ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Prlić et al.


SASSÒLI Marco & OLSON Laura M., “The Decision of the ICTY Appeals Chamber in the Tadic Case: New Horizons for International Humanitarian and Criminal Law?”, in IRRC, No. 839, September 2000, pp. 733-769   VIERUCCI Luisa, “Prisoners of War or Protected Persons qua Unlawful Combatants? The Judicial Safeguards to which Guantánamo Bay Detainees are Entitled”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 1/2, 2003, pp. 284-314.