Hors de combat (French: [ d? kba]; lit. "out of combat") is a French term used in diplomacy and international law to refer to persons who are incapable of performing their ability to wage war. Examples include fighter pilots or aircrews parachuting from their disabled aircraft, as well as the sick, wounded, detained, or otherwise disabled. Persons hors de combat are normally granted special protections according to the laws of war, sometimes including prisoner-of-war status, and therefore officially become non-combatants.
Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, unlawful combatants hors de combat are granted the same privilege and to be treated with humanity while in captivity but unlike lawful combatants, they are subject to civilian trial and punishment (which may include capital punishment if the detaining power has such a punishment for the crimes they have committed).
A person is hors de combat if:
- (a) he is in the power of an adverse Party;
- (b) he clearly expresses an intention to surrender; or
- (c) he has been rendered unconscious or is otherwise incapacitated by wounds or sickness, and therefore is incapable of defending himself;
provided that in any of these cases he abstains from any hostile act and does not attempt to escape.
On her right Froggy was hors de combat already, although he hadn't quite realized it.
When we find them, there will be a band of desperate men at the bay. Some of our men, I presume, will be put hors de combat. These royalists are good swordsmen, and the Englishman is devilish cunning, and looks very powerful.
...who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden...
Professor, I am sorry for one of the best vessels in the American navy; but they attacked me, and I was bound to defend myself. I contented myself, however, with putting the frigate hors de combat; she will not have any difficulty in getting repaired at the next port.
Seven of his Eminence's Guards placed hors de combat by you four in two days! That's too many, gentlemen, too many!
Publisher desPortes did not seem to be in any rush to avenge the honor of the Miami Herald. In fact, as his presumed French ancestors might have put it, he seemed decidedly hors de combat.