Practice Relating to Rule 4. Definition of Armed Forces

Hague Regulations (1899)
Article 1 of the 1899 Hague Regulations provides:
The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps fulfilling the following conditions:
1) To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
2) To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
3) To carry arms openly; and
4) To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
In countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or form part of it, they are included under the denomination “army”. 
Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annexed to Convention (II) with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 29 July 1899, Article 1.
Hague Regulations (1907)
Article 1 of the 1907 Hague Regulations provides:
The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps fulfilling the following conditions:
1) To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
2) To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
3) To carry arms openly; and
4) To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
In countries where militia or volunteer corps constitute the army, or form part of it, they are included under the denomination “army”. 
Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annexed to Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 18 October 1907, Article 1.
Geneva Convention III
According to Article 4(A) of the 1949 Geneva Convention III, persons belonging to one of the following categories who have fallen into the power of the enemy are prisoners of war:
1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:
a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
c) that of carrying arms openly;
d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power. 
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 4(A).
Additional Protocol I
Article 43(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides:
The armed forces of a Party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse Party. Such armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, shall enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 43(1). Article 43 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.39, 25 May 1977, p. 111.
Additional Protocol II
Article 1(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II provides that the Protocol
shall apply to all armed conflicts … which take place in the territory of a High Contracting Party between its armed forces and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups which, under responsible command, exercise such control over a part of its territory as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations and to implement this Protocol. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 1(1). Article 1 was adopted by 58 votes in favour, 5 against and 29 abstentions. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.49, 2 June 1977, pp. 69–70.
Brussels Declaration
Article 9 of the 1874 Brussels Declaration states:
The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies but also to militia and volunteer corps fulfilling the following conditions:
1) that they be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
2) that they have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance;
3) that they carry arms openly; and
4) that they conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
In countries where militia constitute the army, or form part of it, they are included under the denomination “army”. 
Project of an International Declaration concerning the Laws and Customs of War, Brussels, 27 August 1874, Article 9.
Oxford Manual
Article 2 of the 1880 Oxford Manual provides:
The armed force of a State includes:
1. The army properly so called, including the militia;
2. The national guards, landsturm, free corps, and other bodies which fulfil the three following conditions:
(a) That they are under the direction of a responsible chief;
(b) That they must have a uniform, or a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance, and worn by individuals composing such corps;
(c) That they carry arms openly.
3. The crews of men-of-war and other military boats. 
The Laws of War on Land, adopted by the Institute of International Law, Oxford, 9 September 1880, Article 2.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) defines the armed forces of a party to the conflict as all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse party. Such armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, shall enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 1.07(1).
Australia
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) defines the armed forces of a party to the conflict as “all organised armed forces, groups and units … which are under the command of a party to a conflict and are subject to an internal disciplinary system which enforces compliance with LOAC”. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 512; see also Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, Glossary, p. xxi.
Australia
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) defines the armed forces of a party to the conflict as “all organised armed forces, groups and units … which are under the command of a party to a conflict and are subject to an internal disciplinary system, which enforces compliance with the LOAC”. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 5.12.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) defines armed forces as comprising
all members of organized armed forces, under a responsible command and an internal disciplinary system which ensures compliance with the laws and customs of war. Members of organized resistance movements are also considered to be combatants provided they:
a) are subject to internal discipline;
b) wear a fixed distinctive sign recognisable from a distance;
c) carry arms openly;
d) comply with the laws and customs of war. 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, p. 20.
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso’s Disciplinary Regulations (1994) states:
It is prohibited to consider members of the armed forces or volunteer militias, including organized resistance movements, as “regular combatants” unless they are under a responsible command, wear a distinctive sign, carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war. 
Burkina Faso, Règlement de discipline générale dans les Forces Armées, Décret No. 94-159/IPRES/DEF, Ministère de la Défense, 1994, Article 35(1).
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975) states:
Members of the Armed Forces in organized units, francs-tireurs detached from their regular units, commando detachments and isolated saboteurs, as well as voluntary militias, self-defence groups and organized resistance formations are lawful combatants on condition that those units, organizations or formations have a designated commander, that their members wear a distinctive sign, notably on their clothing, that they carry arms openly and that they respect the laws and customs of war. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline dans les Forces Armées, Décret No. 75/700, 6 November 1975, Article 30.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
Three fundamental principles characterize an armed engagement. [These include:]
- The physical engagement of different forces. These forces are characterized by the existence of a recognizable commander, the wearing of a uniform or the open carrying of arms and respect for a strict [military] discipline. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 95, § 352.31; see also p. 137, § 412.29.
Cameroon
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (2007) states:
Article 30: Definition
Members of armed forces in organized units, franc-tireurs detached from regular units, commando detachments and isolated saboteurs, as well as the members of voluntary militias, self-defence groups and organized resistance formations, are lawful combatants.
It is sufficient that those units, organizations or formations have a designated commander, that their members wear a distinctive sign, notably on their clothing, that they carry their arms openly and that they respect the laws and customs of war. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline générale dans les forces de défense, Décret N° 2007/199, Président de la République, 7 July 2007, Article 30.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states:
Armed forces of a party to the conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units that are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates … Armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system, one purpose of which is to enforce compliance with the LOAC. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 3-1, §§ 7–8.
With respect to militias, volunteer groups and organized resistance movements, the manual states:
10. In some cases, a party to a conflict may have armed groups fighting on its behalf that are not part of its armed forces. Such groups may be fighting behind enemy lines or in occupied territory. Partisans and resistance fighters who fought in occupied territory in the Soviet Union and France during World War II are examples of such groups.
11. Members of militias, volunteer corps and organized resistance movements, belonging to a party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, are combatants provided they:
a. are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
b. wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
c. carry arms openly; and
d. conduct their operations in accordance with the LOAC.
12. Militias, volunteer corps and organized resistance movements must “belong” to a party to the conflict in the sense that they are acknowledged by that party as fighting on its behalf or in its support. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 3-2, §§ 10–12.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter entitled “Combatant Status”:
1. Armed forces of a party to the conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units that are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates. In Canada, for example, the armed forces consist of the Regular Force and the Reserve Force.
2. A party to the conflict may be a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse party (for example, Free French Forces raised by the French government-in-exile during World War II). Armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system, one purpose of which is to enforce compliance with the LOAC.
3. Individual members of the armed forces, acting separately from their units, are combatants, even when employing methods of surprise or violent combat, provided they wear an appropriate uniform while so operating. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 304.
With regard to militias, volunteer groups and organized resistance movements, the manual states:
1. In some cases, a party to a conflict may have armed groups fighting on its behalf that are not part of its armed forces. Such groups may be fighting behind enemy lines or in occupied territory. Partisans and resistance fighters who fought in occupied territory in the Soviet Union and France during World War II are examples of such groups.
2. Members of militias, volunteer corps and organized resistance movements, belonging to a party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, are combatants provided they:
a. are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
b. wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
c. carry arms openly; and
d. conduct their operations in accordance with the LOAC.
3. Militias, volunteer corps and organized resistance movements must “belong” to a party to the conflict in the sense that they are acknowledged by that party as fighting on its behalf or in its support. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 305.
Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) states:
The armed forces of a State consist of all the forces, all the armed and organized groups and units placed under a commander who is responsible for the conduct of his subordinates with regard to a belligerent. These armed forces must be subject to an internal disciplinary regime and to the law of [armed] conflict. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 55.
Congo
The Congo’s Disciplinary Regulations (1986) states:
Soldiers in combat must not consider members of the armed forces or volunteer militias, including organized resistance movements, as “combatants” unless they are under a responsible command, wear a distinctive sign, carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war. 
Congo, Décret No. 86/057 du 14 janvier 1986 portant Règlement du Service dans l’Armée Populaire Nationale, 1986, Article 32(1).
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
I.1. Armed forces
The armed forces of a Party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by the adverse Party.
They are subject to an internal disciplinary system which ensures respect for the law of armed conflicts.
I.4. Special forces
Numerous armies have special forces. Generally, they are very specialized units, employed far behind enemy lines for incursions, reconnaissance operations or sabotage missions. They can also be used for internal security tasks, such as combating hostage-taking or terrorism. These units are part of the armed forces in the same way as those described above. During operations, they must be recognizable as combatants, by their uniforms, their insignia. Special forces who operate in civilian attire or dressed in the uniform of the enemy can be punished. Their members nevertheless have the right to a fair trial and must be treated in a manner equivalent to prisoners of war for the whole time of the judicial proceedings. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 27–29; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 18.
In Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders), the Teaching Manual provides:
I.2.5. Militias, volunteer groups and organized resistance movements
In certain cases, a Party to a conflict can have armed groups which fight on its behalf without forming part of its armed forces. These groups can fight behind the enemy lines or in occupied territory. The partisans and the combatants of the Résistance which fought in occupied territory, in the Soviet Union and in France during World War II, are examples of these groups.
Members of militias, volunteer corps and organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and participating in operations in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, are combatants, provided that they:
- are commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
- have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
- carry arms openly;
- conduct their operations in accordance with the LOAC.
The militias, volunteer corps and organized resistance movements must “belong” to a Party to a conflict in the sense that they are recognized by that party as combatants on its behalf or in its support. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 19.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) defines armed forces as “all organized units and personnel under [a] responsible command … [and] subject to [an] internal disciplinary system”. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 5; see also p. 6.
France
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended in 1982, states:
Soldiers in combat must not consider members of the armed forces or volunteer militias, including organized resistance movements, as combatants unless they are under a responsible command, wear a distinctive sign, carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war. 
France, Règlement de Discipline Générale dans les Armées, Decree No. 75-675 of 28 July 1975, replacing Decree No. 66-749, completed by Decree of 11 October 1978, implemented by Instruction No. 52000/DEF/C/5 of 10 December 1979, and modified by Decree of 12 July 1982, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-Major de l’Armée de Terre, Bureau Emploi, Article 9 bis (1); see also Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, pp. 39 and 70–71.
France
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) states: “Every member of a paramilitary force or a partisan recognizable by a fixed distinctive sign and carrying arms openly is considered as a combatant.” 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 2.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states:
The armed forces of a party to a conflict consist of all its organized armed forces, groups and units. They also include militias and voluntary corps integrated in the armed forces. The armed forces shall be:
–under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates, and
–subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, shall enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 304.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) defines armed forces as “all organized units and personnel under [a] responsible command … [and] subject to [an] internal disciplinary system”. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 16; see also p. 17.
Indonesia
Indonesia’s Air Force Manual (1990) states that combatants are:
a. Regular troops, i.e. members of the armed forces, consisting of:
1. voluntary troops;
2. compulsory military; and
3. foreigners, including citizens of neutral States, who belong to a belligerent’s armed forces.
b. Militias, i.e. volunteer groups or persons who, being a part of the armed forces, should be considered as regular troops with the status of legal combatant. 
Indonesia, The Basics of International Humanitarian Law in Air Warfare, Indonesian Air Force, 1990, § 21.
Israel
According to Israel’s Manual on the Laws of War (1998), “soldiers serving in the army (regular and reserve) or in well-ordered militia forces (e.g. the SLA or the State National Guards in the United States)” must fulfil four conditions:
1. The combatants must be led by a commander and be part of an organization with a chain of command.
2. The combatants must bear a fixed recognizable distinctive sign that can be recognized from afar.
3. The combatants must bear arms openly.
4. It is incumbent on combatants to behave in compliance with the rules and customs of war. 
Israel, Laws of War in the Battlefield, Manual, Military Advocate General Headquarters, Military School, 1998, pp. 47–48.
Italy
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) defines armed forces with reference to Article 43(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Italy, Manuale di diritto umanitario, Introduzione e Volume I, Usi e convenzioni di Guerra, SMD-G-014, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, Vol. I, § 3.
Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) defines the armed forces of a State or of a party to the conflict as consisting of
all organised units and personnel which are under a command responsible for the behaviour of its subordinates. The command of the armed forces must be responsible to the belligerent Party to which it belongs. The armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which enforces compliance with the law of armed conflict. In the case of non-international armed conflict, in the sense of [the 1977 Additional Protocol II], the non-governmental forces or opposition forces have to fulfil two additional conditions in order to be considered “armed forces”, namely:
1. they must exercise control over a part of the State’s territory;
2. they must be able to carry out sustained and concerted military operations. 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 2, pp. 7–8.
Mali
Mali’s Army Regulations (1979) states:
Soldiers in combat must not consider members of the armed forces or volunteer militias, including organized resistance movements, as regular combatants unless they are under a responsible command, wear a distinctive sign, carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war. 
Mali, Règlement du Service dans l’Armée, 1ère Partie: Discipline Générale, Ministère de la Défense Nationale, 1979, Article 36(1).
Mexico
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009), in a section providing an overview of the 1949 Geneva Convention III, states:
The term “armed forces” or “regular armed forces” covers only those formed in accordance with domestic legislation and recognized by the government in power at the time. Members of “other militia” are not therefore considered to form part of the regular establishment.  
Mexico, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para el Ejército y la Fuerza Área Mexicanos, Ministry of National Defence, June 2009, § 144.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands defines armed forces with reference to Article 43(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and states that all armed forces, whether regular or irregular, have to be “organized, under a responsible command, and subject to an internal disciplinary system”. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. III-1; see also Handboek Militair, Ministerie van Defensie, 1995, p. 7-39.
Netherlands
The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states: “Only members of the armed forces are entitled to attack or resist the enemy.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0225.
The manual defines “armed forces” as follows:
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. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0303.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
The armed forces of a party to the conflict comprise all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that party, even if the latter is represented by a government or authority not recognized by the adverse Party. This requirement of organization and responsibility extends to national liberation movements and their forces. All such forces must be subject to an internal disciplinary system which is required to enforce adherence to the rules of international law relating to armed conflict. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 805(2).
Nigeria
Nigeria’s Military Manual (1994) states:
In general, the armed forces of a state and of a party to a conflict consist of all organised units and personnel which are under a command responsible for the behaviour of its subordinates and each state and belligerent party must determine the categories of persons and objects belonging to its armed forces … Furthermore, the armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system in order to uphold and enforce the law of war. 
Nigeria, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Directorate of Legal Services, Nigerian Army, 1994, p. 38, § 4.
Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) defines the term “armed forces” as “a force trained and equipped by a State to conduct military air, sea and land operations in order to protect the sovereignty of that State from aggression by another State”. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, Chapter 9, Glossary of Terms.
Peru
Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) defines “armed forces” in its Glossary of Terms as “a force trained and equipped by a State to conduct military air, sea and land operations in order to protect the sovereignty of that State from aggression by another State”. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, p. 404.
Philippines
The Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (2006) notes in its glossary: “Armed Forces under the Law of War – The armed forces of a State which is a party to the conflict consist of all organized units and personnel which are under the command responsible for the behavior of its subordinates.” 
Philippines, Philippine Army Soldier’s Handbook on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, A Practical Guide for Internal Security Operations, 2006, p. 67, Glossary.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) defines armed forces with reference to Article 43(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Russian Federation, Instructions on the Application of the Rules of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the USSR, Appendix to Order of the USSR Defence Minister No. 75, 1990, §§ 12–13.
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
armed forces of a party to a conflict are organized armed units which are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by the adverse party. The armed forces are subject to an internal disciplinary system which allows them to comply with the rules of international humanitarian law. The armed forces consist of combatants and non-combatants – medical and religious personnel. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 1.
Senegal
Senegal’s Disciplinary Regulations (1990) states:
Soldiers in combat must not consider members of the armed forces or volunteer militias, including organized resistance movements, as combatants unless they are under a responsible command, wear a distinctive sign, carry arms openly and respect the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict. 
Senegal, Règlement de Discipline dans les Forces Armées, Décret 90-1159, 12 October 1990, Article 34(1).
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states that the term armed forces “refers to armed forces of a state and party to the conflict which consists of all organized units and personnel under command responsible to the party to the conflict for the behaviour/conduct of its subordinates.” 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 24.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that all armed forces have to be organized, have a commander responsible for the conduct of his or her subordinates and an internal disciplinary system which ensures compliance with IHL. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, División de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 1.3.a.(1).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states that all armed forces have to be organized, have a commander responsible for the conduct of his or her subordinates, and an internal disciplinary system which ensures compliance with IHL. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 1.3.a.(1).
Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) defines armed forces with reference to Article 43(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 3.2.1.3, pp. 34–35.
Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
The armed forces of a belligerent State (Party) consist of all organized armed forces which are under a command responsible to that State (Party) for the conduct of its subordinates.
Armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which shall enforce compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law.
Armed forces consist of combatants (those who fight) and medical and religious personnel (non-combatants). 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.2.21.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) defines armed forces with reference to Article 4(A) of the 1949 Geneva Convention III. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 89.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) defines armed forces as:
a. Members of the organised armed forces, even if they belong to a government or authority not recognised by the adversary, if those forces:
1. are under a commander who is responsible for the conduct of his subordinates to one of the Parties in conflict; and
2. are subject to an internal disciplinary system which enforces compliance with the law of armed conflict.
It is customary for members of organised armed forces to wear uniform. The definition is wide enough to cover auxiliary and reserve forces.
b. Members of any other militias, volunteer corps or organised resistance movements if:
(1) they are subject to a system of internal discipline; and
(2) they have a fixed distinctive sign; and
(3) they carry their arms openly; and
(4) they comply with the law of armed conflict. 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 3, p. 8, § 1.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
The armed forces of a party to a conflict are “all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse Party”. Armed forces are to be “subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, shall enforce compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 4.33.
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) and Air Force Pamphlet (1976) define armed forces with reference to Article 4(A) of the 1949 Geneva Convention III. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 61; Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 3-2.
United States of America
The US Naval Handbook (1995) states that combatants
include all members of the regularly organized armed forces of a party to the conflict … as well as irregular forces who are under responsible command and subject to internal military discipline, carry their arms openly, and otherwise distinguish themselves clearly from the civilian population. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1-10, October 1989), § 5.3.
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) states: “Under the international law of war, the armed forces are bodies authorized to conduct military operations and against whom force is used in armed conflict”. The manual then lists the components of the armed forces, including the categories mentioned in Article 4(A)(1) and (2) of the 1949 Geneva Convention III. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 48(1) and (2).
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s Navy Ordinance (1961), as amended to 1986, states that “‘armed forces’ means the Bangladesh Army, the Bangladesh Navy and the Bangladesh Air Force and includes their reserves when called up for training, exercise or service”. 
Bangladesh, Navy Ordinance, 1961, as amended to 1986, Article 4(ii).
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunals) Act (1973), as amended in 2009, states that “‘armed forces’ means the forces raised and maintained under the Army Act, 1952 (XXXIX of 1952), the Air Force Act, 1953 (VI of 1953), or the Navy Ordinance, 1961 (XXXV of 1961)”. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, as amended in 2009, Article 2(aa).
Chad
Chad’s Law on the Reorganization of the Armed and Security Forces (2006) states:
The Armed and Security Forces of the Republic of Chad are subject to a single operational command called the General Etat-Major of the Armed Forces … and are reorganized according to the following categories:
- A Chadian National Army;
- A National Gendarmerie;
- A National and Nomadic Guard of Chad;
- Joint services of the armed forces. 
Chad, Law on the Reorganization of the Armed and Security Forces, 2006, Article 5.
China
The Military Service Law of the People’s Republic of China (1984), as amended in 1998, states: “The armed forces of the People’s Republic of China shall be composed of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force and the Militia.” 
China, Military Service Law of the People’s Republic of China, 1984, as amended in 1998, Article 4.
China
The Law of the People’s Republic of China on National Defence (1997) states: “The armed forces of the People’s Republic of China are composed of the active and reserve forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force and the Militia.” 
China, Law of the People’s Republic of China on National Defence, 1997, Article 22.
India
India’s Army Act (1950) defines the term “the Forces” as meaning “the regular Army, Navy and Air Force or any part of any one or more them”. 
India, Army Act, 1950, Section 3(xi).
India
India’s Criminal Law (Amendment) Act (2013) states:
Whoever,–
(c) being a member of the armed forces deployed in an area by the Central or a State Government commits rape in such area; …
Shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation. – For the purposes of this subsection, –
(a) “armed forces” means the naval, military and air forces and includes any member of the Armed Forces constituted under any law for the time being in force, including the paramilitary forces and any auxiliary forces that are under the control of the Central Government or the State Government. 
India, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Article 376(2).
Iraq
The Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period (2004) states:
PREAMBLE
This Law is now established to govern the affairs of Iraq during the transitional period until a duly elected government, operating under a permanent and legitimate constitution achieving full democracy, shall come into being.
CHAPTER ONE – FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
Article 2.
(A) The term “transitional period” shall refer to the period beginning on 30 June 2004 and lasting until the formation of an elected Iraqi government pursuant to a permanent constitution as set forth in this Law, which in any case shall be no later than 31 December 2005, unless the provisions of Article 61 are applied.
CHAPTER THREE – THE IRAQI TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT
Article 27.
(A) The Iraqi Armed Forces shall consist of the active and reserve units, and elements thereof. The purpose of these forces is the defense of Iraq.
(B) Armed forces and militias not under the command structure of the Iraqi Transitional Government are prohibited, except as provided by federal law.  
Iraq, Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, 2004, Preamble and Articles 2(A) and 27(A)–(B).
Philippines
The Philippines’ Executive Order No. 292 (1987) states:
The AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] shall consist of the General Headquarters; the Major Services namely: the Philippine Army, the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Navy and, until otherwise provided by law, the Philippine Constabulary; and other existing units, services and commands of the AFP. The Secretary of National Defense may, in accordance with the policies or directives of the President, create additional units, services and commands, or reorganize the AFP in response to any situation or in pursuance of operational or contingency plans. No Major Service may be unfilled, inactivated or merged with another Major Service, without the approval of the Congress.
Whenever dictated by military necessity, and upon the recommendation of the Secretary of National Defense and approved by the President, the Citizen Armed Force may be called or mobilized to complement the operations of the regular force of the AFP or to support the regular force formations or units. For this purpose, Active Auxiliary Units which shall be part of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units, may be utilized, to be constituted out of volunteers to be screened in consultations with the local executives and civic business leaders. The status of Active Auxiliary Units shall be of a degree of activation of military reservists short of full active duty status. They shall not be vested with law-enforcement or police functions.
All members of the Citizen Armed Force on training or service shall be subject to military law and the Articles of War. 
Philippines, Executive Order No. 292, 1987, Book IV, Title VIII, Subtitle II, Chapter 6, Sections 35 and 37(2) and (3).
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Defence Law Amendment Act (2001) states: “The Armed Forces are established and shall operate on the basis of rule of law, centralized leadership and unity of command, permanent combat and mobilization readiness and compliance with military discipline.” 
Uzbekistan, Defence Law Amendment Act, 2001, Article 6.
Venezuela
Venezuela’s Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (2008) states:
Article 29. Military Components
The Bolivarian National Armed Forces are composed of four military components: the Bolivarian National Army, the Bolivarian National Navy, the Bolivarian National Air Force and the Bolivarian National Guard.
Article 43. Concept
The Bolivarian National Militia is a special body organized by the Venezuelan State and composed of the Military Reserve and the Territorial Militia aimed at complementing the Bolivarian National Armed Forces in the comprehensive defence of the Nation[.] 
Venezuela, Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, 2008, Articles 29 and 43.
Venezuela
Venezuela’s Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (2008), as amended in 2009, states:
Article 29. Military components
The Bolivarian National Armed Forces are composed of four military components: the Bolivarian Army, the Bolivarian Navy, the Bolivarian Air Force and the Bolivarian National Guard.
Article 43. Concept
The Bolivarian Militia is a special body organized by the Venezuelan State and composed of the Territorial Militia and Combat Forces, aimed at complementing the Bolivarian National Armed Forces in the comprehensive defence of the Nation[.] 
Venezuela, Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, 2008, as amended in 2009, Articles 29 and 43.
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe (1998) asserts that the incorporation of Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I into national legislation by the 1981 Geneva Conventions Act as amended “is evidence of [Zimbabwe’s] view that [it represents] customary international law”. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.1 with reference to Zimbabwe, Geneva Conventions Act as amended (1981).
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Constitution (2013) states:
211. Defence Forces
(1) The Defence Forces of Zimbabwe consist of an Army, an Air Force and any other services that may be established under an Act of Parliament.
(2) The Defence Forces are the only lawful military forces in Zimbabwe.
(3) The Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this Constitution.
(4) The Defence Forces must be maintained as disciplined military forces.
(5) An Act of Parliament must provide for the organisation, structure, management, regulation, discipline and promotion and demotion of officers and other members and, subject to section 218, the conditions of service of members of the Defence Forces. 
Zimbabwe, Constitution, 2013, Section 211.
Ukraine
In 2009, in the War veterans case which concerned the question of whether members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army are entitled to social security benefits as war veterans, Ukraine’s Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the lower court. The Court held:
The court of first instance concluded that in compliance with paragraph 1 of article 43 of the Additional Protocol to [the] Geneva Conventions dated 12 August 1949 relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), dated 8 June 1977, signed by Ukraine on 12 December 1977, ratified in August 1989 and entered into force on 25 July 1990, armed forces of the Party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct or its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse Party. …
… Not only a State is regarded as a belligerent party … [Pursuant to] article 1 of the … [1907 Hague] Regulation[s], the laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer [corps] if they fulfil the list of conditions, e.g. they should conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
… [T]he panel of judges, [pursuant to] article 200 of the Code of Administrative Court Procedure of Ukraine, decided to … [uphold] the judgment of the court of first instance … without any alterations. 
Ukraine, Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal, War veterans case, Decision, 17 February 2009.
Argentina
Upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Argentina declared that it interpreted Articles 43(1) and 44(1) of the Protocol
as not implying any derogation of: a) the concept of permanent regular armed forces of a Sovereign State; b) the conceptual distinction between regular armed forces, understood as being permanent army units under the authority of Governments of Sovereign States, and the resistance movements which are referred to in Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. 
Argentina, Interpretative declarations made upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II, 26 November 1986, § 1.
Argentina
Upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocol II, Argentina declared, with reference to Article 1 of the Protocol:
The term “organized armed groups” is not to be understood as equivalent to that used in Article 43, Protocol I, to define the concept of armed forces, even if the aforementioned groups meet all the requirements set forth in the said Article 43. 
Argentina, Interpretative declarations made upon accession to the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II, 26 November 1986, § 3.
Belgium
A report submitted to the Belgian Senate in 1991 noted that two elements were essential in the definition of armed forces: first, they must be integrated into a military organization (that is, a hierarchical structure) subject to an internal disciplinary system; second, this organization must operate under a command structure responsible to a party for the conduct of its subordinates. If these two conditions were fulfilled, the concept of armed forces could be extended to groups of combatants who were left behind in an occupied territory to perform acts of sabotage, to gather intelligence or to take part in guerrilla warfare. The report recalled that this was the position of the Belgian government in exile during the Second World War. From its base in London, the government adopted legislation authorizing the executive power to nominate agents in charge of action or intelligence missions in a foreign country, occupied area or zone evacuated by the enemy. These agents had the status of combatants and were allowed to carry arms. The government in exile, however, was very reticent about resistance cells or individuals over whom it had no direct control. 
Belgium, Senate, Report, Enquête parlementaire sur l’existence en Belgique d’un réseau de renseignements clandestin international, 1990–1991 Session, Doc. 1117-4, 1 October 1991, §§ 19 and 20.
Resistance networks operating behind enemy lines would not be protected, according to the report, if composed of civilians that were neither part of a hierarchical structure nor subject to an internal disciplinary system. 
Belgium, Senate, Report, Enquête parlementaire sur l’existence en Belgique d’un réseau de renseignements clandestin international, 1990–1991 Session, Doc. 1117-4, 1 October 1991, § 25.
On the basis of the report, the Report on the Practice of Belgium concludes that the definition given in Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is recognized by Belgium and that the central criterion is State control over the combatants. 
Report on the Practice of Belgium, 1997, Chapter 1.1.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In its oral pleadings before the ICJ in the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide case (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro) in 2006, Bosnia and Herzegovina noted:
[I]t would be useful to give some consideration to the issue of how the “armed forces” of a State should be defined. Such a definition appears in Article 43 of the … 1977 Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions. It reads: “The armed forces of a Party to a conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that Party …”. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Oral pleadings before the ICJ, Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide case (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), 6 March 2006, Verbatim Record CR 2006/10, p. 36, § 59.
France
The instructions given to the French armed forces for the conduct of Opération Mistral, simulating a military operation under the right of self-defence or a mandate of the UN Security Council, state: “Armed forces that are subject to the law of war consist of all organized units and their personnel, under a command which is responsible for the conduct of its subordinates.” 
France, Etat-major de la Force d’Action Rapide, Ordres pour l’Opération Mistral, 1995, Section 5.
Germany
In an explanatory memorandum submitted to the German Parliament in 1990 in the context of the ratification procedure of the Additional Protocols, the German Government stated that the 1977 Additional Protocol I contained the first treaty definition of the term “armed forces” and acknowledged that armed forces must be organized, under responsible leadership and have an internal disciplinary system. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Explanatory memorandum on the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, BT-Drucksache 11/6770, 22 March 1990, p. 110.
Islamic Republic of Iran
According to the Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, military communiqués issued during the Iran–Iraq War referred to armed forces as “Combatants of Islam” or “Devoters of Armed Forces”. In three of these communiqués, the armed forces are defined as personnel of the army and air force, Gendarmerie, Revolutionary Guards (Sepah-e-Pasdaran), armed tribesmen, Basseej and Jehad forces, volunteers and also the Kurdish commandos (Kurd Pihmerg). Some other military communiqués also thanked tribesmen and ordinary people who had taken up arms against the “Iraqi aggressors”. The report specifies that, since all the military staff and armed forces were under a single command responsible to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the practice and opinio juris of the Islamic Republic of Iran are consistent with Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Military Communiqué No. 35, 24 September 1980, Military Communiqué No. 36, 24 September 1980, Military Communiqué No. 109, 4 October 1980, Military Communiqué No. 354, 1 January 1981 and Military Communiqué No. 477, 13 May 1981.
Japan
The Report on the Practice of Japan states that the Japanese Government understands that Japanese Self-Defence Forces (Jieitai) are categorized as armed forces as referred to in Article 4 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III. 
Report on the Practice of Japan, 1998, Chapter 1.1, referring to Statement by a member of the Japanese Government in the House of Representatives Cabinet Committee, 30 October 1986.
Netherlands
In an explanatory memorandum submitted to the Dutch Parliament in the context of the ratification procedure of the 1977 Additional Protocols, the Government of the Netherlands stated that armed forces consisted of regular as well as irregular troops, provided they fulfilled the conditions set forth in Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Netherlands, Lower House of Parliament, Explanatory memorandum on the ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocols, 1983–1984 Session, Doc. 18 277 (R 1247), No. 3, pp. 18–20.
Republic of Korea
The Report on the Practice of the Republic of Korea affirms the customary nature of Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Report on the Practice of the Republic of Korea, 1997, Chapter 1.1.
Syrian Arab Republic
On the basis of a statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly in 1997, the Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that the Syrian Arab Republic considers that the definition of armed forces contained in Article 43(1) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly, 1 October 1997.
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe considers that the definitions given in Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I apply only in the context of an international armed conflict. It states that, for non-international armed conflicts, an attempt at a definition is found in Article 1 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, which refers to dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups which are under a responsible command. It adds, however:
This definition is subjective and difficult to implement, given that States are generally unwilling to recognize rebel groups and their structures … preferring to deal with them as mere “criminals or bandits”. In Zimbabwe this issue is yet to be addressed in terms of policy and military instruction. It is by no means settled and cannot be regarded as being part of customary law. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.1.
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International Criminal Court
In the Lubanga case before the ICC in 2006, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a former president of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) and commander-in-chief of the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC), was charged, inter alia, with the war crimes of enlisting, conscripting and using children under the age of 15 years to participate actively in hostilities (Article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) and (e)(vii) of the 1998 ICC Statute). 
ICC, Lubanga case, Warrant of Arrest, 10 February 2006.
In its Decision on the Confirmation of Charges in 2007, the Pre-Trial Chamber stated:
271. The Chamber considers that the expression “national armed forces” must … be defined. In this regard, Article 43 of Protocol Additional I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 defines the armed forces of a Party to a conflict as consisting of all organised armed forces, groups or units which are under a command responsible to that Party for the conduct of its subordinates, even if that Party is represented by a government or an authority not recognized by an adverse Party. Such armed forces must be subject to an internal disciplinary system which, inter alia, enforces compliance with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict.
272. The Chamber notes that, in the context of a conflict of an international character, Protocol I does not require that the armed forces be governmental forces. In this regard, the Chamber refers to the commentary on the Protocol, which states that “it is perfectly clear that the Protocol has extended its field of application to entities which are not States. […] If they conform to the requirements of the present article, liberation movements fighting against colonial domination […] and resistance movements representing a pre-existing subject of international law may be ‘Parties to the conflict’ within the meaning of the Conventions and the Protocol. However, the authority which represents them must have certain characteristics of a government, at least in relation to its armed forces.”
273. The commentary on Article 43 of Protocol I states that the notion of “party to the conflict” is fairly wide, involving not only resistance movements representing a pre-existing subject of international law and governments in exile, but also those fighting for conflicts of “self-determination” or “national liberation”.
274. Furthermore, the Chamber notes that Article 1 of the 1907 Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War, which has become part of customary law, also requires militia and volunteer corps that are not part of an army to fulfil the following conditions: be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance; carry arms openly; and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
275. With regard to the term “national”, which qualifies armed forces in the context of article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) of the [1998 ICC] Statute, the Chamber recalls that the context of international armed conflict is not restricted solely to the use of force between two states, but that it extends to certain situations in which parties to the conflict may be organised armed forces or groups. The issue raised here is whether the adjective “national” qualifying “armed forces” limits the scope of the application of this provision to “governmental” armed forces.
276. In this regard, Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, entitled “General rule of interpretation”, provides that
1. A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.
[…]
4. A special meaning shall be given to a term if it is established that the parties so intended.
277. Firstly, the ordinary meaning of the adjective “national” does not necessarily lead to an interpretation of the term as meaning governmental armed forces. In this regard, the Chamber notes that the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY defined the term “national” within the meaning of Article 4(1) of the Fourth Geneva Convention for the purpose of determining who can be considered a “protected person” under the Convention.
278. On this point, the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY held in Tadić that “in modern inter-ethnic armed conflicts such as that in the former Yugoslavia, new States are often created during the conflict and ethnicity rather than nationality may become the grounds for allegiance. Or, put another way, ethnicity may become determinative of national allegiance. […] In such conflicts, not only the text and the drafting history of the Convention but also, and more importantly, the Convention’s object and purpose suggest that allegiance to a Party to the conflict and, correspondingly, control by this Party over persons in a given territory, may be regarded as the crucial test.”
279. In The Prosecutor v. Delalić et al., the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY held that “Bosnian Serb victims should be regarded as protected persons for the purposes of Geneva Convention IV because they were arrested and detained mainly on the basis of their Serb identity and they were clearly regarded by the Bosnian authorities as belonging to the opposing party in an armed conflict and as posing a threat to the Bosnian State.”
280. Accordingly, the Chamber observes that the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY has construed the term “national” in Article 4(1) of the Fourth Geneva Convention as referring not solely to nationality as such, but also to the fact of belonging to the opposing party in an armed conflict.
281. Secondly, interpreting the term “national” to mean “governmental” can only undermine the object and purpose of the Statute of the Court, which is none other than to ensure that “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole” must no longer go unpunished.
282. Thus, construing the term “national” to mean “governmental” might present the judge with a genuine paradox. Indeed, he or she might be led to consider that an alleged perpetrator can be held responsible if he or she belongs to a party to a conflict which is linked to a State (the armed forces of a State, such as the UPDF), but would escape prosecution if he or she belonged to a party to the same conflict described as an armed group (such as the FPLC).
283. Moreover, Article 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, entitled “Supplementary means of interpretation” states that:
Recourse may be had to supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning resulting from the application of article 31, or to determine the meaning when the interpretation according to article 31:
a. Leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure; or
b. Leads to a result which is manifestly absurd or unreasonable.
284. In fact, on the basis of basic humanitarian considerations and common sense, it would be absurd that Thomas Lubanga Dyilo could incur criminal responsibility for the crime of enlisting or conscripting children under the age of fifteen years only in the context of an internal armed conflict solely because the FPLC, as an armed force, could not be described as a “national armed force” within the meaning of article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) of the [1998 ICC] Statute. This would be tantamount to admitting that the perpetrator of such a crime could escape prosecution simply because his or her acts were committed in the context of an international armed conflict. The drafters of the Statute wanted to include under article 8 of the Statute a larger array of criminal conduct committed in the context of an international armed conflict.
285. Thus, the Chamber considers that, under article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) of the Statute, the term “the national armed forces” is not limited to the armed forces of a State. 
ICC, Lubanga case, Decision on the Confirmation of Charges, 29 January 2007, §§ 271–285.
International Criminal Court
In the Bemba case before the ICC, the accused, the alleged President and Commander-in-chief of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), was charged, inter alia, with murder, rape and torture as war crimes and as crimes against humanity, pursuant to Articles 7 and 8 of the 1998 ICC Statute. In its decision on the confirmation of charges in 2009, the Pre-Trial Chamber considered the concept of “organized armed groups”, stating:
233. The Chamber further notes that the Statute and the Elements of Crimes do not provide for the definition of “organized armed groups”. The Chamber concurs with Pre-Trial Chamber I which, in the Lubanga decision concerning the concept of “organized armed groups”, stated that:
[…] article 8(2)(f) of the Statute makes reference to “protracted armed conflict between […] [organized armed groups]”. In the opinion of the Chamber, this focuses on the need for the armed groups in question to have the ability to plan and carry out military operations for a prolonged period of time. [ICC, Lubanga case, Decision on the confirmation of charges, § 234]
234. Taking into consideration the principles and rules of international armed conflict reflected in the international instruments above-mentioned, the Chamber adds that those “organized armed groups” must be under responsible command. In this regard, responsible command entails some degree of organization of those armed groups, including the possibility to impose discipline and the ability to plan and carry out military operations.
236. In addition, the Chamber wishes to clarify that the legal requirement contained in article 1(1) of [the 1977] Additional Protocol II for the organized armed group(s) to exert control over a part of the territory is not a requirement under the Statute. 
ICC, Bemba case, Decision on the confirmation of charges, 15 June 2009, §§ 233–234 and 236.
[footnotes in original omitted]
Special Court for Sierra Leone
In the Sesay case before the SCSL, the accused Sesay and Kallon, senior commanders in the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Junta and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)/RUF forces, and the accused Gbao, senior commander in the RUF and AFRC/RUF forces, were each charged with eight counts of crimes against humanity, eight counts of war crimes, and two counts of other serious violations of international humanitarian law. In its judgment in the case in 2009, the Trial Chamber, in considering the definition of “armed groups” and when such groups could be said to be acting on behalf of a State, stated:
189. The Chamber recognises that “armed forces or groups” may be either State or non-State controlled. The Chamber has already expressed its approval of the following definition of “armed groups” given in the Tadic Appeal Judgement:
One should distinguish the situation of individuals acting on behalf of a State without specific instructions, from that of individuals making up an organised and hierarchically structured group, such as a military unit or, in case of war or civil strife, armed bands of irregulars or rebels. Plainly, an organised group differs from an individual in that the former normally has a structure, a chain of command and a set of rules as well as the outward symbols of authority. Normally a member of the group does not act on his own but conforms to the standards prevailing in the group and is subject to the authority of the head of the group. [ICTY, Tadić case, Judgement on Appeal, § 120]
975. The Chamber endorses the principle that an organised armed group may be said to be acting on behalf of another State when that State exercises overall control over the group. In order to satisfy this test, it must be shown that the [State in question]:
(i) Provided financial and training assistance, military equipment and operational support, and
(ii) Participated in the organisation, co-ordination or planning of military operations. 
SCSL, Sesay case, Judgment, 2 March 2009, §§ 189 and 975.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that:
The “armed forces” of a State and of a Party to the conflict consist of all organized units and personnel which are under a command responsible for the behaviour of its subordinates … The command of the armed forces must be responsible to the belligerent Party to which it belongs. The armed forces shall be subject to an internal disciplinary system which enforces compliance with the law of war. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, §§ 36, 40 and 41.
No data.
Additional Protocol I
Article 43(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides: “Whenever a Party to a conflict incorporates a paramilitary or armed law enforcement agency into its armed forces, it shall so notify the other Parties to the conflict.” 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 43(3). Article 43 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.39, 25 May 1977, p. 111.
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Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides: “Whenever a Party to a conflict incorporates a paramilitary or armed law enforcement agency into its armed forces, it shall so notify the other Parties to the conflict.”  
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 1.07(3).
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) states: “If a party to a conflict incorporates paramilitary or armed law enforcement agencies into its armed forces, it must inform other parties to the conflict of this fact. These forces are then considered lawful combatants.” 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 3-2, § 14.
Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001) states in its chapter entitled “Combatant Status”:
If a party to a conflict incorporates paramilitary or armed law enforcement agencies into its armed forces, it must inform other parties to the conflict of this fact. These forces are then considered lawful combatants. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 307.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
I.3. Paramilitary forces and police forces
When a party to a conflict decides to incorporate within its armed forces a paramilitary force or another armed corps responsible for maintenance of order (police), it must inform the adversary. In our country the paramilitary forces consist of customs officers, water and forest agents, and the national police. They are entitled to participate directly in hostilities and they must naturally completely respect the rules established for combatants. In case of capture, their members are entitled to the same protection as prisoners of war. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 29.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states:
Whenever a party to a conflict incorporates a paramilitary or armed law enforcement agency into its armed forces it shall notify the other parties to the conflict. In the Federal Republic of Germany the Federal Border Commands including their Border Guard formations and units as well as the Federal Border Guard School shall become part of the armed forces upon the outbreak of an armed conflict. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 307.
Netherlands
The 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.” 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. III-3, § 2.
Netherlands
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. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, §§ 0303, 0311 and 0314–0315.
New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states: “If a Party to a conflict incorporates paramilitary or armed law enforcement agencies into its armed forces it must inform other parties to the conflict of this fact, so that such forces may be acknowledged as lawful combatants.” 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 806(1).
The manual provides two examples of paramilitary agencies incorporated into the armed forces of a State, namely “the Special Auxiliary Force attached to Bishop Muzorewa’s United African National Congress in Zimbabwe and which was embodied into the national army after the Bishop became Prime Minister [and] India’s Border Security Force in Assam”. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 806(1), footnote 25.
The manual also provides an example of an armed law enforcement agency incorporated into the armed forces of a State, namely:
At the time of the outbreak of World War II, the Burma Frontier Force was serving as a police force under authority of the Burma Frontier Force Act; after the fall of Burma, the Burmese Government in exile in Simla, India, passed legislation making the Force part of the Burmese Army and subject to the Burma Army Act. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 806(1), footnote 26.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that members of the Guardia Civil are lawful combatants. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, División de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 1.3.a.(1).
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Regulation on Legal Bases for Conduct during an Engagement (2005) states: “The civilian police are not part of the belligerent forces, as long as they do not take part in the fighting and are not integrated into the armed forces.” 
Switzerland, Bases légales du comportement à l’engagement (BCE), Règlement 51.007/IVf, Swiss Army, issued based on Article 10 of the Ordinance on the Organization of the Federal Department for Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of 7 March 2003, entry into force on 1 July 2005, § 172. The German language version notes: “… as long as they do not take part in the fighting or, respectively, are not integrated into the armed forces [“solange sie nicht am Kampf teilnimmt bzw. nicht in die Streitkräfte integriert ist”]”.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
To avoid confusion, the law requires that “whenever a Party to a conflict incorporates a paramilitary or armed law enforcement agency into its armed forces it shall so notify the other Parties to the conflict”.  
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 4.3.6.
China
The Military Service Law of the People’s Republic of China (1984), as amended in 1998, states: “The armed forces of the People’s Republic of China shall be composed of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force and the Militia.” 
China, Military Service Law of the People’s Republic of China, 1984, as amended in 1998, Article 4.
Germany
The Report on the Practice of Germany (1997) notes that from 1965 to 1994, German border guards were granted the status of combatants. In 1994, the German Parliament adopted a law that changed the status of the border guards. The reason for this change was that, as combatants, these guards could become legitimate enemy targets and they could involve local police forces as targets when operating in joint action. In addition, even civilian objects protected by the police might become targets. 
Report on the Practice of Germany, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Federal Border Police Law, 1994, Article 4.
Philippines
The Decree on the Constitution of the Integrated National Police (1975) of the Philippines provides that the Philippine Constabulary, responsible as the nucleus of the Integrated National Police for police, jail and fire services, “shall remain and continue to be a major service of the Armed Forces”. Within this framework, the Integrated National Police “shall function directly under the Department of National Defense”. 
Philippines, Decree on the Constitution of the Integrated National Police, 1975, Sections 5 and 7.
Philippines
The Philippines’ Republic Act No. 6975 (1990) provides:
Sec. 2. Declarations of Policy. – It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to promote peace and order, ensure public safety and further strengthen local government capability aimed towards the effective delivery of the basic services to the citizenry through the establishment of a highly efficient and competent police force that is national in scope and civilian in character …
The police force shall be organized, trained and equipped primarily for the performance of police functions. Its national scope and civilian character shall be paramount. No element of the police force shall be military nor shall any position thereof be occupied by active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Sec. 12. Relationship of the Department with the Department of National Defense. – During a period of twenty-four (24) months from the effectivity of this Act, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) shall continue its present role of preserving the internal and external security of the State: Provided, That said period may be extended by the President, if he finds it justifiable, for another period not exceeding twenty-four (24) months, after which the Department shall automatically take over from the AFP the primary role of preserving internal security, leaving to the AFP its primary role of preserving external security. However, even after the Department has assumed primary responsibility on matters affecting internal security, including the suppression of insurgency, and there are serious threats to national security and public order, such as where insurgents have gained considerable foothold in the community thereby necessitating the employment of bigger tactical forces and the utilization of higher caliber armaments and better armoured vehicles, the President may, upon recommendation of the peace and order council, call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines to assume the primary role and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to play the supportive role in the area concerned.
In times of national emergency, all elements of the PNP, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology shall, upon direction of the President, assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines in meeting the national emergency. 
Philippines, Republic Act No. 6975, 1990, Sections 2 and 12.
Philippines
The Philippines’ Republic Act No. 8551 (1998) provides:
Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy and Principles. – It is hereby declared the policy of the State to establish a highly efficient and competent police force which is national in scope and civilian in character administered and controlled by a national police commission.
Sec. 3. Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6975 is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 12. Relationship of the Department with the Department of National Defense. – The Department of the Interior and Local Government shall be relieved of the primary responsibility on matters involving the suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security. The Philippine National Police shall, through information gathering and performance of its ordinary police functions, support the Armed Forces of the Philippines on matters involving suppression of insurgency, except in cases where the President shall call on the PNP to support the AFP in combat operations.
In times of national emergency, the PNP, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology shall, upon the direction of the President, assist the armed forces in meeting the national emergency. 
Philippines, Republic Act No. 8551, 1998, Sections 2–3.
Philippines
The Philippines’ Administrative Order No. 18 (2001) states:
Whereas, in view of Section 6 of Executive Order No. 220 and pursuant to a Memorandum of Undertaking executed by and between representatives of the Government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army on August 11, 1999, there is a need for the immediate integration of qualified members of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army into the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 
Philippines, Administrative Order No. 18, 2001, preamble.
Spain
Pursuant to Spain’s Military Criminal Code (1985), the Guardia Civil is an armed military body that exclusively falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence, in times of siege warfare or when called upon to carry out missions of a military nature. 
Spain, Military Criminal Code, 1985, Article 9.
Zimbabwe
The Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe (1998) asserts that the incorporation of Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I into national legislation by the 1981 Geneva Conventions Act as amended “is evidence of [Zimbabwe’s] view that [it represents] customary international law”. 
Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, 1998, Chapter 1.1 with reference to Zimbabwe, Geneva Conventions Act as amended, 1981.
India
The Report on the Practice of India refers to a decision of the Supreme Court which did not consider, for administrative purposes, civilian clerks of a special police unit (the Indo-Tibetan Border Force, which is itself part of the armed forces of India) as members of the armed forces. According to the report, however, members of this force might be treated as combatants for the purpose of the application of IHL. 
Report on the Practice of India, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Supreme Court, Dobhal case, Judgment, 16 August 1994, §§ 1–8.
Belgium
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, Belgium notified the High Contracting Parties of the duties assigned to the Belgian Gendarmerie (constabulary) in time of armed conflict. Belgium considered that this notification fully satisfied any and all requirements of Article 43 pertaining to the Gendarmerie. It informed the High Contracting Parties that the Gendarmerie was formed to maintain law and order and was, according to national legislation, a police force which was part of the armed forces within the meaning of Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. Consequently, members of the Gendarmerie had the status of combatant in time of international armed conflict. 
Belgium, Interpretative declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 20 May 1986, § 2.
An Act of Parliament of 18 July 1991 has, however, put an end to this situation as it has disconnected the Gendarmerie from the armed forces. 
Belgium, Law on Demilitarization of the Gendarmerie, 1991.
France
Upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, France informed the States party to the 1977 Additional Protocol I that its armed forces permanently include the Gendarmerie. 
France, Reservations and declarations made upon ratification of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, 11 April 2001, § 7.
Israel
In 2009, in a report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 (the “Gaza Operation”, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”), Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
Whereas members of a civilian police force that is solely a civilian police force, who have no combat function are not considered combatants under the Law of Armed Conflict, international law recognises that this principle does not apply where police are part of the armed forces of a party. In those circumstances, they may constitute a legitimate military target. In other words, the status of the Palestinian “police” under the Law of Armed Conflict depends on whether they fulfilled combat functions in the course of the armed conflict. The evidence thus far is compelling that they are. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 238.
[footnote in original omitted; emphasis in original]
Republic of Korea
The Report on the Practice of the Republic of Korea affirms the customary nature of Article 43 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I.  
Report on the Practice of the Republic of Korea, 1997, Chapter 1.1.
Syrian Arab Republic
On the basis of a statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly in 1997, the Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic asserts that the Syrian Arab Republic considers that the rule contained in Article 43(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I is part of customary international law. 
Report on the Practice of the Syrian Arab Republic, 1997, Chapter 1.1, referring to Statement by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs before the UN General Assembly, 1 October 1997.
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Special Court for Sierra Leone
In the Sesay case before the SCSL, the accused Sesay and Kallon, senior commanders in the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Junta and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)/RUF forces, and the accused Gbao, senior commander in the RUF and AFRC/RUF forces, were each charged with eight counts of crimes against humanity, eight counts of war crimes, and two counts of other serious violations of international humanitarian law. In its judgment in the case in 2009, the Trial Chamber, in considering whether State law enforcement agencies would be categorized as directly participating in hostilities, stated:
87. The armed law enforcement agencies of a State are generally mandated only to protect and maintain the internal order of the State. Thus, as a general presumption and in the execution of their typical law enforcement duties, such forces are considered to be civilians for the purposes of international humanitarian law. This same presumption will not exist for military police or gendarmerie that operate under the control of the military.
88. The Chamber is of the opinion that the status of police officers in a time of armed conflict must be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of an analysis of the particular facts. A civilian police force, for instance, may be incorporated into the armed forces, which will cause the police to be classified as combatants instead of civilians. This incorporation may occur de lege, by way of a formal Act, or de facto. 
SCSL, Sesay case, Judgment, 2 March 2009, §§ 87–88.
[footnotes in original omitted]
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