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The Meaning of the Term Noncombatant in International Humanitarian Law – Interpretation of the Provision of Article 37/1/c of the Additional Protocol I of Geneva of 1977

Authors
  • Guţan, Sabin
Type
Published Article
Journal
International conference KNOWLEDGE-BASED ORGANIZATION
Publisher
Sciendo
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2022
Volume
28
Issue
1
Pages
51–56
Identifiers
DOI: 10.2478/kbo-2022-0008
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Fundamental to the correct application of the rules of international humanitarian law are the understanding and implementation of the principle of distinction between combatants and civilians (and other protected persons). This principle has evolved over time, from strict rules of differentiation (wearing a uniform or a fixed distinctive sign; carrying the arms openly), to a minimalistic reformulation of the conditions for recognition of combatant status and the right to be a prisoner of war, by the provisions of art. 44 of the Additional Protocol I of 1977 (carrying his arms openly when the combatant is preparing or participating in military actions and is in sight of the opponent, even if he does not wear distinctive signs). These provisions are very important for the correct definition of the notions of combatant, non-combatant and civilian and for the proper identification of cases of perfidy which represent war crimes. The biggest problem in the application of these norms, for the Romanian armed forces, is the legal translation and interpretation of international treaties when the Romanian legislator adopts them. We find such a situation in the case of Article 37/1/c of the Additional Protocol I of Geneva of 1977 regarding the prohibition of perfidy in connection with the use of the notions of civilian and non-combatant.

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