IRRC No. 907/908/909

Exploring the “continuous combat function” concept in armed conflicts: Time for an extended application?

Reading time 47 min read

This paper focuses on the “continuous combat function” concept and proposes to extend its application. First, the article will demonstrate that the continuous combat function concept should be extended to certain members of organized armed groups in cases where those groups do not belong to any of the parties to an international armed conflict and whose actions do not reach the level of intensity required for a separate non-international armed conflict (NIAC) to exist. Secondly, the paper will look at the extension of this concept in order to determine individual membership in State armed forces in the context of a NIAC, while arguing that the notion of “armed forces” should be interpreted differently depending of the nature of the conflict, be it international or non-international.

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More about International Review of the Red Cross, 150 years of humanitarian reflection, Direct participation in hostilities, Continuous combat function