Belligerency recognition : past, present and future
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Connecticut journal of international law, Vol. 29, spring 2014, p. 301-326
In traditional international law, the realities of internal violence have been described in different terms, depending on the level of violence, the success of the armed non-state actor (ANSA) and the interests of the parent or other states. A rebellion was a first level in which violence was relatively low, the ANSA created a little nuisance to the enemy state and there were minimal, if any, repercussions outside of the state where violence was taking place. Insurgency designated a relatively successful ANSA, possibly with some control over territory, whose actions had some consequences in the outside world. Belligerency implied a further increased level of violence and success for the ANSA and created the need for a more comprehensive corpus of legal rules to regulate the situation. This last situation is the focus of this article. The purpose of this article is to expose the past of belligerency, examine its present, explain its retreat, and reflect on whether it deserves any future or adds value to the current state of international law. It is argued that, despite its gradual demise, belligerency recognition is still in existence and that it could be resurrected in appropriate cases.