Practice Relating to Rule 4. Definition of Armed Forces
Section B. Incorporation of paramilitary or armed law enforcement agencies into armed forcesThe Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands states: “A State may incorporate a paramilitary organization or armed agency charged with police functions into its armed forces. The other parties to a conflict have to be notified thereof.”
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states:
0303. Armed forces
The armed forces of a party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are:
- under one command; and
- subject to an internal disciplinary system.This not only applies to the armed forces of States, but also to members of resistance and liberation armies. The command need not consist of one person, but must be responsible for subordinates’ behaviour towards the party to the conflict (generally the State). The internal disciplinary system must ensure obedience to the rules of the humanitarian law of war.
Before … AP I [1977 Additional Protocol I] came into force, it was important to clarify the position of resistance fighters. Thus, in September 1944, the recognized armed resistance groups, the Orde Dienst (Order of Service), the Knokploegen (Assault Groups) and the Raad van Verzet (Council of Resistance) were grouped together into the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (Inland Armed Forces). Members were given the status of soldiers of the Royal Dutch Army.
In the same month, the storm troops established in Limburg and North Brabant also became members of the Inland Armed Forces. Parties to AP I no longer have formally to recognize resistance groups.
0311. The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee
A State may include a paramilitary organization or armed service entrusted with political responsibilities in its armed forces. The other parties to a conflict must be informed of this. In the Netherlands, this provision is used for civilian surveillance personnel of the armed forces (see below). Nothing like this applies to the Royal Marechaussee (frontier guards). It forms part of the Dutch armed forces, although it performs many tasks for ministries other than that of Defence. Members of this force therefore usually have combatant status.
0314. Civilian surveillance personnel
The Netherlands identifies its Navy Security Corps (Marine Beveiligingskorps) and the civilian surveillance of the Royal Dutch Army as paramilitary organizations, which also form part of the armed forces during an armed conflict. Such personnel are recognizable because they are uniformed and armed. The Swiss Federal Council has been notified of this.
0315. It must be remembered that most countries’ armed forces are composed differently from those of the Netherlands. They may fall into categories different from similar groups in the Netherlands and have different status under the humanitarian law of war.