unlawful combatant

(redirected from Illegal enemy combatants)

unlawful combatant

n.
A civilian who engages in combat without meeting the criteria for a belligerent established by the third Geneva Convention, and who is thus not classified as a prisoner of war when captured.
References in periodicals archive ?
This disregard for civilian lives on the pretext of 'collateral damage', 'illegal enemy combatants' or other license of impunity is appalling and systematic, particularly in Syria.
(199) Since detainees are illegal enemy combatants, they are not prisoners of war and thus not subject to protection of the Geneva Conventions as a bar to any transfer whatsoever.
But dropping the category of "illegal enemy combatants" is a hopeful sign.
Attempts to find other countries willing to take them have also failed (with the exception of Albania, which accepted eight former prisoners in 2006), in part because, although they are approved for release, the government insists on maintaining that they are still "illegal enemy combatants."
Nevertheless, they can be subjected to LTPD, to keep them from rejoining the fight, until the "cessation of active hostilities." Those who fight for al Qaeda do not have the same privilege to use force; they are therefore called by some "illegal enemy combatants." But unless they are tried and convicted of war crimes, their detention, too, is meant to be preventive rather than punitive.
So-called illegal enemy combatants, however, generally can be held criminally accountable for their use of force, and thus this restriction applies to them.
In the midst of combat operations in Afghanistan, the President declared that soldiers of the Taliban and al Qaeda taken into custody were not ordinary prisoners of war but rather unlawful combatants or illegal enemy combatants. (20) According to the administration, this special designation removes such detainees from the protection of the Third Geneva Convention for prisoners of war and allows the military to interrogate them on a protracted basis; to incarcerate them indefinitely, even beyond the duration of hostilities; and to try and to punish them for the simple act of fighting.
The prisoners at Guantanamo--all foreign citizens--have also been treated as illegal enemy combatants. A prison was set up at the Naval Station in January 2002, and although al Qaeda suspects seized in a large number of countries, including Bosnia, Thailand, and Zambia, have been incarcerated there over the last five years, Guantanamo was first and foremost a prison for persons captured in the war with Afghanistan.
Rather, these individuals are labeled unlawful or illegal enemy combatants (designations not codified in international law), whose rights to due process and humane treatment are thereby deemed dubious at best.
Were the court's liberals waiting for a better chance to review President Bush's unconstitutional detention system for ''illegal enemy combatants''?
Civil libertarians have expressed deep concern at this ruling, warning that it could lead to abuses by the government detaining American citizens, not with criminal charges, but as 'illegal enemy combatants' without the same protections and recourse to the law that a person charged as a criminal would have.
When President Bush announced in September that he was transferring 14 men suspected of heinous acts of terrorism to Guantanamo Bay, his aim was baldly political - to stampede Congress into passing a profoundly flawed law that set up military tribunals to try ''illegal enemy combatants'' and absolved U.S.