Practice Relating to Rule 4. Definition of Armed Forces
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.
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.