Defining and recognizing prisoners of war in contemporary armed conflicts

Fabijanić Gagro, S.


Contemporary international humanitarian law classifies all armed conflicts into two basic groups – international and non-international. In international armed conflict is clear distinguishing between civilians and combatants. The civilian has right on immunity of the attack, unless is joined to the armed forces, by what he loses the civilian’s rights, and gains the combatant’s rights. The combatant's right is to participate in the hostilities, with no criminal charges for this action. Captured combatant in international armed conflict becomes prisoner of war. Unlike the recognized prisoner of war status in international armed conflict, in non-international armed conflict there is no person called combatant, and captured insurgent has no right and is not considered as prisoner of war. That is because the state does not recognize possibility to any person to attack from inside their armed forces. Despite the fact they are not entitled to prisoner of war status, the recommendation of the ICRC is to approve certain rights to the members of insurgent’s groups, which are inherent to “regular” combatant’s rights.

Keywords: prisoners of war, international armed conflict, non-international armed conflict, 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1977 Additional Protocols to 1949 Geneva Conventions



APA citation

  • Fabijanić Gagro, S., (2014).Defining and recognizing prisoners of war in contemporary armed conflicts. International Journal of Social Sciences, III(5), pp.60- 78.

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