Uniform

Clothing, usually of a specific colour/design, and insignia, worn by members of the same military unit. In international armed conflicts, combatants have an obligation to distinguish themselves from the civilian population and this can be achieved by wearing a uniform. Therefore, members of the armed forces engaged in or preparing an attack without wearing a uniform and/or  failing to carry their arms openly are not entitled to the status of prisoner of war. The feigning of protected status by wearing the uniforms of the United Nations or of a neutral or other non-belligerent State is prohibited by IHL.  A combatant attempting to gather information on the territory of the adverse party while in uniform shall not be considered a spy (and will therefore benefit from prisoner of war status if captured).

See CombatantsAttackPrisoners of warSpiesStatusUnited NationsNeutral State; Perfidy;

 OUTLINE

 LEGAL SOURCE

HR, 23(f)

PI, 39/2

CIHL, 62

Obligation for combatants to distinguish themselves

 

GC III, 4(A)

P I, 44(3)

CIHL, 106

 CASES

 BIBLIOGRAPHIC RESOURCES

 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
 
PFANNER Toni, “Military Uniforms and the Law of War”, in IRRC, No. 853, March 2004, pp. 93-130

 
Wearing of uniforms of UN, neutral or other States not party to the conflict

 LEGAL SOURCE

 Cases

 
Necessity (or other distinction) for combatant or belligerent status

 LEGAL SOURCEs

 
Spies

 LEGALE SOURCEs