Non-international armed conflict

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Definition[edit | edit source]

Non-international armed conflict
Non-international armed conflict.svg
The law of non-international armed conflict (NIAC) applies to all armed conflicts not of an international character.[1] As set forth by the ICTY Appeals Chamber in the Tadić case, NIACs are situations of “protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within a State”.[2]

This definition rests on two factors—the intensity of the fighting and the organization of the non-State group.[3] First, the hostilities between the parties must reach a certain level of intensity, which may be indicated by, among other factors, the seriousness and frequency of attacks and military engagements, the extent of destruction, or the deployment of governmental armed forces.[4] Second, the non-State group must have some minimum level of organization, indicators of which may include the presence of a command or leadership 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.[5]

These same criteria of intensity and organization apply in situations involving (or even limited to) cyber operations.[6] However, cyber operations alone will only rarely meet the requisite level of intensity to trigger a NIAC.[7]

Appendixes[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. Common Article 3 GCs.
  2. Prosecutor v Tadić (Decision on Jurisdiction) IT-94-1-AR72 (2 October 1995) [70].
  3. See also Prosecutor v Tadić (Trial Judgment) IT-94-1-T (7 May 1997) [562] (noting that the two criteria distinguish “an armed conflict from banditry, unorganized and short-lived insurrections, or terrorist activities, which are not subject to international humanitarian law”).
  4. Prosecutor v Boškoski and Tarčulovski (Trial Judgment) IT-04-82-T (10 July 2008) [177].
  5. 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].
  6. 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.”).
  7. Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 83, para 7; Yoram Dinstein, Non-International Armed Conflicts in International Law (CUP 2014) 35.

Bibliography and further reading[edit | edit source]