This article discusses so-called ‘unprivileged/unlawful belligerents/combatants’, essentially those persons who take part in hostilities without fulfilling the conditions spelled out in Article 4A of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention (the “GCIII”) or Articles 43-44 of the API. This paper defines those unprivileged belligerents who fall into an enemy’s hands in a combat zone of their home State (or of their co-belligerent State) as ‘(homeland) battlefield unprivileged belligerents’. It explores whether the GCIV serves as a gap-filler for such battlefield unprivileged belligerents who are excluded from the framework of the GCIII. The outcomes of this author’s research will be divided into two papers: (1) this paper that focuses on the interpretation of the GCIV with a view to securing guarantees for “(homeland) battlefield unprivileged belligerents”; and (2) the second paper, published in this Yearbook next year, which will trace at length the legislative history of the GCIII and the GCIV.
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