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Zverev P.G. On the issue of the legal status of combatants and non-combatants

Published in journal "International relations", 2016-1 in rubric "Issues of war and peace", pages 86-91.

Resume: The article is devoted to the comparative study of the legal status of combatants and non-combatants from the position of international humanitarian law and from the point of view of Russian and foreign international law doctrine. Special attention is paid to differences in the legal status of these persons in land, sea and air warfare. The weak positions of the Russian and foreign international law specialists in an attempt to distinguish these categories of eligible participants of armed conflicts are observed. The provisions of the 1949 Geneva conventions and their Additional protocols of 1977 are analyzed. The objective of this study is to determine the qualitative feature, which may help to delineate clearly the legal status of combatants and non-combatants in international and internal armed conflicts.The research is based on a combination of specific historical, comparative-legal, formal-legal and political-legal methods.The main conclusions of the research are the following: 1) combatants should in any circumstances distinguish themselves from the civilian population; 2) non-combatants are entitled to use their weapons only for self-defense or the protection of the property and persons entrusted to them; 3) non-combatants should include only the medical staff and clergy, all other categories of eligible participants of armed conflict are considered to be combatants. The novelty of the research is that the position of the Russian international law specialists on the question is described for the first time in comparative perspective in English.

Keywords: Russian doctrine, clergy, medical personnel, war, legal position, non-combatant, combatant, armed conflict, Geneva conventions, Additional protocols

DOI: 10.7256/2305-560X.2016.1.16338

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