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Non-international armed conflict

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Definition

Non-international armed conflict
The law of NIAC applies to all armed conflicts not of an international character.[1] This notion has been authoritatively defined by the ICTY as encompassing all situations of “protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within a State”.[2]

This judicial definition implies a twofold requirement of minimum organization and intensity. Firstly, the non-State group must be militarily organized, the indicators of which include the presence of a command structure, the ability to determine a unified military strategy and speak with one voice, the adherence to military discipline, as well as the capability to comply with IHL.[3] Secondly, the hostilities must reach a certain level of intensity, which is indicated by, among other factors, the seriousness of attacks, the extent of destruction, or the deployment of governmental armed forces.[4]

The same criteria of organization and intensity apply in situations involving (or even limited to) cyber operations.[5] However, given that the intensity threshold is relatively high, cyber operations alone will only rarely trigger a NIAC.[6]

Appendixes

See also

Notes and references

  1. Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions.
  2. Prosecutor v Tadić (Decision on Jurisdiction) IT-94-1-AR72 (2 October 1995) [70].
  3. Prosecutor v Limaj, Bala and Musliu (Trial Judgment) IT-03-66-T (30 November 2005) [129]; Prosecutor v Boškoski and Tarčulovski (Trial Judgment) IT-04-82-T (10 July 2008) [199]–[203].
  4. Prosecutor v Boškoski and Tarčulovski (Trial Judgment) IT-04-82-T (10 July 2008) [177].
  5. Cf. L Cameron et al, ‘Article 3: Conflicts Not of an International Character’ in ICRC (ed), Commentary on the First Geneva Convention (CUP 2016) 158 [436] (“In order to determine the existence of a non-international armed conflict involving cyber operations, the same criteria apply as with regard to kinetic violence.”).
  6. Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 83, para. 7.

Bibliography and further reading

  • MN Schmitt (ed), Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations (CUP 2017)