Practice Relating to Rule 106. Conditions for Prisoner-of-War Status
Section B. Levée en masse
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that participants in a levée en masse
are considered combatants “if they carry arms openly and respect the law of war”.
South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) states:
Participants in a “Levee en Masse”. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory who, on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously and in mass take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to organise themselves into armed units, are considered combatants if they carry their arms openly and respect the laws of war.
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
1.5 Application of LOAC [law of armed conflict] during armed conflict to the position of participants and non-participants
- Article 2 of the  Hague [Regulations] creates an exception to the conditions mentioned in sub-sub paragraph [1 of Article 1 of the Regulations]. According to this article, persons will be regarded as belligerents even though they do not comply with the conditions, if[:]
- They are inhabitants of a territory which has not been occupied
- Who, on the approach of the enemy
- Spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops
- Without having had time to organize themselves in accordance with article 1 and
- They carry arms openly and they respect the laws and customs of war.
- The abovementioned situation is generally referred to as a “levée en masse
” (a mass and spontaneous uprising).