The term “unlawful combatant” is used to refer to an individual who belongs to an armed group, in a context where either the individual or the group do not fulfil the conditions for combatant status. The term was employed by the administration of President George W. Bush of the United States in its ‘global war on terror’ to describe persons who are, in its view, neither combatants nor civilians but belong to a third category of persons who can be attacked at any time and can be detained indefinitely without trial. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for “unprivileged belligerent”.
See Unprivileged belligerent; War on terror; Combatants; Civilians; Detention; Internment; Terrorism and terrorists;
Chapter 2, III. 1. e) The global war on terror ?
Chapter 5, VII. 5. Terrorism, the "war on terror", and in particular the status of "unlawful combatants"
United States, Closure of Guantanamo Detention Facilities
ICRC, The Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts (Part B.)
Israel, The Targeted Killings Case (Paras. 24-40)
Israel, Detention of Unlawful Combatants
United States, Status and Treatment of Detainees Held in Guantanamo Naval Base
United States, President’s Military Order
United States, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
United States, Military Commissions
United States, Habeas Corpus for Guantanamo Detainees
United States, The Obama Administration’s Internment Standards
General Assembly, The use of drones in counter-terrorism operations
U.S., Lethal Operations against Al-Qa’ida Leaders
United States, Jurisprudence Related to the Bombing of the U.S.S. Cole
USA, Guantánamo, End of "Active Hostilities" in Afghanistan
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BORELLI Silvia, “Casting Light on the Legal Black Hole: International Law and Detentions Abroad in the ‘War on Terror’”, in IRRC, No. 857, March 2005, pp. 39-68.
BORELLI Silvia, “The Treatment of Terrorist Suspects Captured Abroad: Human Rights and Humanitarian Law”, in BIANCHI Andrea (ed.), Enforcing International Law Norms against Terrorism, Oxford, Hart, 2004, pp. 39-61.
BYERS Michael, “Terrorism, the Use of Force and International Law after 11 September”, in ICLQ, Vol. 51/2, 2002, pp. 401-414.
CASSESE Antonio, “Terrorism is also Disrupting Crucial Legal Categories of International Law”, in EJIL, Vol. 12-5, 2001, pp. 993-1001.
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O’CONNELL Mary Ellen, “Combatants and the Combat Zone”, in University of Richmond Law Review, Vol. 43, Issue 3, March 2009, pp. 845-863.
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PAUST Jordan J., “War and Enemy Status After 9/11: Attacks on the Laws of War”, in The Yale Journal of International Law, Vol. 28, 2003, pp. 325-335.
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PLAW Avery, Targeting Terrorists: A License to Kill?, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008, 294 pp.
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