The Often-Vexed Question of Direct Participation in Hostilities: A Possible Solution to a Fraught Legal Position?

Dewi Williams


The issue of whether or not a civilian is culpable for having directly participated in hostilities, as per Article 51(3) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions is a complex and highly controversial issue.   Further complexity is faced when considering the issue of targeting, and whether an individual may be legitimately targeted for his/her direct participation in hostilities.  The aim of this paper is to examine the issue and to pose an alternative mechanism so as to provide a practical test to determine an individuals’ status.  It also calls upon International jurists to provide much needed guidance.

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Journal of Politics and Law ISSN 1913-9047 (Print) ISSN 1913-9055 (Online)  Email:

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