The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), also referred to as international humanitarian law, governs the conduct of armed conflict.

Australian Defence Force commanders at all levels bear responsibility for ensuring forces under their command and control comply with the LOAC.

The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), also referred to as international humanitarian law, governs the conduct of armed conflict.

The rules contained in LOAC seek to:

  1. protect civilians and wounded persons against dangers of hostilities;
  2. limit destruction to only what is necessary; and
  3. protect combatants from unnecessary suffering.

Australian Defence Force commanders bear responsibility for ensuring forces under their command and control comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.

Yes. Australian Defence Force commanders could be held responsible under criminal law, through military discipline law or through administrative action, depending upon the circumstances.

Non-combatants or persons who are hors-de-combat

Non-combatants are generally civilians (i.e. non-military personnel) but the term also refers to some non-combatant personnel within military forces, such as medical personnel and chaplains.

The term hors-de-combat refers to people who are ‘out of the fight’, such as people who are unable to continue to fight (e.g. through being wounded), or who have surrendered.

The Law of Armed Conflict, also referred to as international humanitarian law, requires that non-combatants or persons who are hors-de-combat should be generally protected from the dangers of armed conflict.