عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسنده [English]چکیده [English]
The United States, is currently detaining several hundred of al-Qaeda and Taliban combatants from many countries in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. These detainees were captured while engaged in hostilities against the U.S. and its allies during the post-September 11, 2001 international armed conflict centered primarily in Afghanistan. The conflict now involves an ongoing concerted international campaign in collective self-defense against a common stateless enemy dispersed throughout the world.
Domestic and international human rights organizations and other groups and states have criticized the U.S., arguing that al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees in Cuba should be granted Geneva Convention III prisoner of war status. They contend broadly that pursuant to the international laws of armed conflict, combatants captured during armed conflict must be treated equally and conferred prisoner of war status. However, no such blanket obligation exists in international law. There is no legal or moral equivalence in law of armed conflict between lawful combatants and unlawful combatants, or between lawful belligerency and unlawful. This article explains how law of armed conflict protects civilians through the enforcement of clear distinctions between lawful combatants, unlawful combatants, and protected noncombatants. It summarizes the conditions of lawful belligerency under customary and treaty-based law of armed conflict, and instructs why combatants who do not meet these conditions do not possess combatant's privilege; that is, the immunity provided to members of the armed force