The relationship between a state and an organised armed group and its impact on the classification of armed conflict
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Amsterdam law forum, Vol. 5, issue 3, Summer 2013, p. 33-51
When an organised armed group is engaged in an armed conflict with government forces, this is normally classified as a non-international armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). However, the nature and degree of the relationship which the armed group has with a third state become crucial in ascertaining whether the armed conflict is, in fact, an international armed conflict. The standard in the law of state responsibility is often applied to define the nature and degree of the relationship. This article critically analyses the application of the standard in the law of state responsibility and suggests that IHL provides sufficient guidance to define the nature and degree of the relationship between an organised armed group and a third state for the purpose of clarifying the type of armed conflict in which the armed group is engaged.