Journal Article

Detentions by Armed Opposition Groups in Non-International Armed Conflicts: Towards a New Characterization of International Humanitarian Law

Ezequiel Heffes

in Journal of Conflict and Security Law

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 229-250
Published in print July 2015 | ISSN: 1467-7954
Published online January 2015 | e-ISSN: 1467-7962 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jcsl/kru024
Detentions by Armed Opposition Groups in Non-International Armed Conflicts: Towards a New Characterization of International Humanitarian Law

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  • Military and Defence Law
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This article investigates a particular armed opposition groups’ behavior: detentions during hostilities. This is an important concern since these non-state actors repeatedly deprive persons of liberty during armed conflicts. Interestingly, international humanitarian law (IHL) does not explicitly address such actions, thus seemingly leaving them to be regulated by the domestic law of the State concerned which, in general, only authorizes its own agents to carry out such acts. Therefore, armed opposition groups could never detain individuals legally in a non-international armed conflict.

Nonetheless, this can be inconsistent in the application of the principle of equality of belligerents, which affirms that all parties to an internal armed conflict have the same scope of rights regardless of their cause. In the following pages, a number of arguments focusing on real-life scenarios will be presented in order to show that, despite not being explicit, armed opposition groups are logically and implicitly authorized by IHL to detain individuals who are engaged in an armed conflict against them.

Journal Article.  9971 words. 

Subjects: Military and Defence Law ; Public International Law ; Police and Security Services ; Terrorism and National Security Law ; Use of Force, War, Peace and Neutrality

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