Practice Relating to Rule 3. Definition of Combatants
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) defines “lawful combatants” as:
–Members of the Armed Forces of the parties to the conflict, except medical and religious personnel.
–Members of the armed forces of a party not recognised by the other party.
–Members of other militias and other units subject to military discipline, like the Guardia Civil.
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) defines “lawful combatants” as:
- members of the armed forces of the parties to a conflict, other than medical and religious personnel;
- members of the armed forces of a party to the conflict not recognized by the other party;
- members of other militias or corps subject to military discipline, such as the Civil Guard;
- resistance movements; guerrillas are only considered lawful combatants when they act in occupied territory and carry their arms openly during operations and any movement towards a place from or on which an attack is to be launched;
- inhabitants of a territory who spontaneously take up arms to resist invading forces.
The manual defines “unlawful combatants” as “those considered not to be members of the armed forces and therefore not entitled to protection as combatants, because they do not meet one or more of the requirements specified in [the preceding definition of ‘lawful combatants’]”.
The manual also states: “The categories of people taking a direct part in the hostilities who are not entitled to combatant status include the employees of private security companies who exceed their duties and carry out actions that are unlawful under international law.”