Civilians under international humanitarian law are "persons who are not members of the armed forces" and are not "combatants if they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war".[1] It is slightly different from a non-combatant, as some non-combatants are not civilians (for example, military chaplains attached to the belligerent party or military personnel serving with a neutral country). Civilians in the territories of a party to an armed conflict are entitled to certain privileges under the customary laws of war and international treaties such as the Fourth Geneva Convention. The privileges that they enjoy under international law depends on whether the conflict is an internal one (a civil war) or an international one.

In some nations, uniformed members of civilian police or fire departments colloquially refer to members of the public as civilians.[2]

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