A privileged combatant is a person who takes a direct part in the hostilities of an armed conflict within the law of war and is someone who upon capture qualifies as a prisoner of war under the Third Geneva Convention (GCIII). The law of war (also law of armed conflict, LOAC) is Law concerning acceptable practices relating to war The Third Geneva Convention (or GCIII) of 1949 one of the Geneva Conventions, is a treaty agreement that primarily concerns the treatment of Prisoners of An unlawful combatant is a civilian, such as a mercenary, who takes a direct part in the hostilities, but who upon capture does not qualify for prisoner of war status. An unlawful combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent is a Civilian who directly engages in armed conflict under the International Humanitarian Law A civilian under International humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her Country 's Armed forces. A mercenary is a person who takes part in an armed conflict who is not a national or a party to the conflict and is "motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by 
To qualify for prisoner of war status persons waging war must have the following characteristics to be protected by the laws of war:
- Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict
- or members of militias not under the command of the armed forces
- that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
- that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
- that of carrying arms openly;
- that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
- or are members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
- or inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
For those countries which have signed the "Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts" (Protocol I) the definition of "combatant" is altered by
- Article 44 . Events 1099 - First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon - Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeat Fatimid Year 1949 ( MCMXLIX) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts ( Protocol 1) Introduction 3
- . . . Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he carries his arms openly::
- ( a ) During each military engagement, and
- ( b ) During such time as he is visible to the adversary while he is engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which he is to participate.
Hors de combat: a combatant who has surrendered or been captured becomes a prisoner of war (POW). Surrender is when Soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and become Prisoners of war, either as
If there is any doubt as to whether the person benefits from "combatant" status, they must be held as a POW until they have faced a "competent tribunal" (Additional Protocol I Art 45(1)) to decide the issue. Combatants who may be deemed not to benefit from such protection accorded by the Third Geneva Convention include spies, mercenaries, members of militias not under the command of the armed forces who do not fit into the categories specified above, and those who have breached other laws or customs of war (for example by fighting under a white flag). A mercenary is a person who takes part in an armed conflict who is not a national or a party to the conflict and is "motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by White flags have had different meanings throughout history and depending on the locale
Most combatants who do not qualify for protection under the Third Geneva Convention do so under the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), which concerns civilians, until they have had a "fair and regular trial". The Fourth Geneva Convention (or GCIV) relates to the protection of Civilians during times of War " in the hands " of an enemy and under A civilian under International humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her Country 's Armed forces. If found guilty at a regular trial, they can be punished under the civilian laws of the detaining power. The last time that American and British unlawful combatants were executed after "a regularly constituted court" was Luanda Trial in Angola in June 1976. The Luanda Trial was a trial held in Luanda, Angola in June and July 1976 by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA recently Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (República de Angola Pronounced ʁɛˈpublikɐ dɨ ɐ̃ˈgɔlɐ Repubilika ya Ngola is a country in south-central Year 1976 ( MCMLXXVI) was a Leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
- ^ The relevance of IHL in the context of terrorism official statement by the ICRC 21 July 2005. Non-combatant is a military and legal term describing Civilians not engaged in combat Events 356 BC - Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World "If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered 'unlawful' or 'unprivileged' combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action".
- ^ This point is found in Article 51. 3 of the Geneva Conventions Protocol I "Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities". Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts ( Protocol 1) Introduction (Geneva Conventions Protocol I Article 51. 3)
- ^ Under Article 47 of Protocol I (Additional to the Geneva Conventions) it is stated in the first sentence "A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war. " On 4 December 1989 the United Nations passed resolution 44/34 the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries. "December 4th" redirects here For the song by Jay-Z, see December 4th (song. Year 1989 ( MCMLXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar) It entered into force on 20 October 2001 and is usually known as the UN Mercenary Convention– International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries A/RES/44/34 72nd plenary meeting 4 December 1989 (UN Mercenary Convention). Events 1740 - Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony Year 2001 ( MMI) was a Common year starting on Monday according to the Gregorian calendar. At the 72nd plenary meeting on 4 December 1989 the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 44/34 the International Convention against the Recruitment "December 4th" redirects here For the song by Jay-Z, see December 4th (song. Year 1989 ( MCMLXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar) Article 2 makes it an offence to employ a mercenary and Article 3. 1 states that "A mercenary, as defined in article 1 of the present Convention, who participates directly in hostilities or in a concerted act of violence, as the case may be, commits an offence for the purposes of the Convention. " – International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries
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- An armed fighter.
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