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The Position of Guerrilla Fighters under the Law of War

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Chapter Summary

The term guerrilla (literally: petty war) is used both independently and as a component part in various expressions, such as guerrilla warfare, guerrilla tactics, guerrilla fighters. After the discussion of various problems attending the definition and delimitation of "non-international" and "international" armed conflicts, this chapter describes the delimitation between international armed conflicts and mere incidents. It examines the issue of guerrilla warfare from the angle of the fate of guerrilla fighters as war victims. The most recent, authoritative statement of the requirements for "privileged belligerency" is found in Article 4 of the Prisoners of War Convention of 1949. A requirement for guerrillas to be entitled to recognition as "privileged belligerents" is that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and usages of war.

Keywords: guerrilla fighters; guerrilla warfare; international armed conflicts; law of war; non-international armed conflicts; privileged belligerency



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