The legal equality of combatants is a fixture of international law and just war theory. Both scholars who embrace and those who reject the moral equality of combatants seem committed to the legal equality of combatants. Their reasons usually inclue pragmatic worries about unjust combatants committing even more harm if they were to be simply prohibited from fighting. In this article the author argues that this sweeping commitment to the legal equality of combatants is mistaken and that it is often grounded in a misunderstanding of the way international law governs behavior.
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