Article également publié dans: Israel Yearbook on Human Rights, vol. 42, 2012
The treaty law applicable to the classification of participants in a non international conflict is limited to Common Article 3 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocol Il. Taking the two treaties together, and in light of Common Article 3's customary status, it can be concluded that two broad categories of non-international armed conflict participants lie in juxtaposition: civilians and organized armed groups. The former can be subdivided into those who directly participate in hostilities and those who do not. Organized armed groups consist of a State's armed forces, dissident armed forces or "other" organized armed groups. This chapter examines the three types of "opposition fighters" - dissident armed forces, other organized armed groups and civilians directly participating in hostilities. Assuming a non-international armed conflict (whatever form it takes), it asks how opposition force participants in the conflict are to be classified. The key consequences of classification lie in the law of targeting, for classification determines whether LOAC prohibits an attack on an individual during a non international armed conflict. To the extent no prohibition exists on attacking persons with a particular classification, harm to an individual within that group plays no role in proportionality calculations (except as military advantage) and need not be considered when determining the precautions that attackers are required to take during attacks to avoid harming civilians. As will become apparent, the targetability of the various categories of opposition fighters is a matter of some contention in LOAC circles.
By entering this website, you consent to the use of technologies, such as cookies and analytics, to customise content, advertising and provide social media features. This will be used to analyse traffic to the website, allowing us to understand visitor preferences and improving our services. Learn more