It refers to the legal position or condition of a person, property or place/territory under International Humanitarian Law.

Unlike human rights law, for example, under IHL the set of rules that applies to a particular situation is often dependent on the status of the persons or objects involved, and sometimes even the territory on which certain conduct is carried out.

IHL recognizes particular protections for the following categories of persons, places and objects:

  1. Wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons;
  2. Combatants;
  3. Prisoners of war;
  4. Medical aircraft;
  5. Medical and religious personnel;
  6. Civilian persons;
  7. Cultural property;
  8. Civil defence personnel;
  9. Occupied territory;
  10. non-defended localities and demilitarizd zones;
  11. hospital and safety zones.

IHL also uses the term when it clarifies that its application does not affect the legal status of armed groups.

 Furthermore, international humanitarian law deals with the status of public officials and judges of an occupied territory by providing that the Occupying Power may not alter their status.

See Classification of persons; Protected personsLegal Status of the parties;



of wounded and sick
See Wounded and sick
GCI, 13 (see ICRC updated Commentary), 14 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

of shipwrecked
See Shipwrecked
GCI, 13 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

of combatant
See Combatant
HR, 1-3
PI, 43-47

of POWs
See Prisoner of war
HR, 1-3

of medical personnel
See Medical personnel

of religious personnel
See Religious personnel

of civilians
See Civilian population
PI, 50

of civilian object
See Civilian objects
PI, 52
CIHL, 7 and 9

of civil defence personnel
See Civil defence
PI, 62-67

of parties to the conflict
See Legal status of the parties

of non-defended localities
See Non-defended localities

of demilitarized zones
See Demilitarized zones

of hospital and safety zones and localities
See Hospital and safety zones and localities