Are “unlawful combatants” protected under international humanitarian law ?
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Amsterdam law forum, Vol. 10, no. 2, Spring 2018, p. 62-71
This essay responds to the question whether there exists a legal black hole in international humanitarian law in which unlawful combatants may slip. The issue arose in the “war on terror” where the Bush Administration labelled some members of terrorist groups as “unlawful combatants” and denied the applicability of international humanitarian law to them. By analysing the origin of the term “unlawful combatants”, certain provisions in the Geneva Conventions as well as a case study on war on terror, this essay supports the idea that not only is there no such legal black hole with regards to the status of “unlawful combatants” in existing international humanitarian law, but denial of any protection to them may lead to very dangerous consequences.