The distinction between levée en masse and wars of national liberation
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Slovenian law review, Vol. 5, issue 1/2, 2008, p. 115-129
People have an inherent need to express their own identity, regardless of what constitutes that identity. Throughout human history we have seen numerous attempts of different groups to destroy the identity of others and impose their own instead. Those who could not take it anymore rose up and rebelled against the oppressor. Those who saw the threat right in front of them took up arms to forestall it. Whatever the case, they were all prepared to fight for their freedom. This paper tries to analyze two conflicts that have crystallized out of these situations through the years - wars of national liberation and mass levies - and argue on their differences. Apart from the fact that wars of national liberation are being fought on a territory that is already under foreign dominion, while mass levies are being fought to resist the invasion, are there any other differences? Do these armed conflicts have the same status under international humanitarian law? Between which parties are they being fought? Are those fighting them civilians or combatants? Are they lawful combatants? What legitimizes their fight? Are they organized in the same manner and use the same method of warfare? What awaits them at the end of the conflict? Freedom or more bloodshed? The author tries to answer these questions and give a broader picture of what distinguishes them from one another.
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