When dealing with non-State actors such as terrorists or guerilla groups, States often have to act in a grey area between International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). The constant question is which of these two legal regimes is applicable and what their relationship is. Colombia, a veteran in dealing with non-State actors and internal conflicts, has recently set out to answer that question by applying a new approach of combining IHL and IHRL in a hybrid model. The legal basis for this approach is the new operational law for the Colombian armed forces, which offers guidance to the acting soldiers in the field. The Colombian approach is novel and unique and has to be scrutinized and analysed against the broader background of States’ struggles with non-State armed groups.
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