What is an Enemy Combatant?

Introduction An enemy combatant is a person who, either lawfully or unlawfully, engages in hostilities for the other side in an armed conflict. Usually enemy combatants are members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war. In the case of a civil war or an insurrection “state” may be… Read More

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What is a Non-Combatant?

Introduction Non-combatant is a term of art in the law of war and international humanitarian law to refer to civilians who are not taking a direct part in hostilities; persons, such as combat medics and military chaplains, who are members of the belligerent armed forces but are protected because of their specific duties (as currently… Read More

What is an Unlawful Combatant?

Introduction An unlawful combatant, illegal combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent is a person who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war. An unlawful combatant may be detained or prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action. The International Committee of the Red Cross points out that the… Read More

What is a Prisoner of War (POW)?

Introduction A prisoner of war (POW) is a non-combatant – whether a military member, an irregular military fighter, or a civilian – who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase “prisoner of war” dates back to 1610. Belligerents hold prisoners of… Read More

What is a Combatant?

Introduction Combatant is the legal status of an individual who has the right to engage in hostilities during an armed conflict. The legal definition of “combatant” is found at article 43(2) of Additional Protocol I (AP1) to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It states that “Members of the armed forces of a Party to a… Read More

Fury & Non-Combatants…

“War hath no fury like a noncombatant.” C.E. Montague (1867 to 1928) Charles Edward Montague was an English novelist, journalist, and man of letters particularly noted for writings published in the Manchester Guardian and for a number of outstanding works of fiction. He wrote two works based on his experiences in World War I –… Read More