This chapter analyses and examines the existing modalities of conflict internationalization, arguing that there are two principal mechanisms through which a prima facie non-international armed conflict may transform into an international armed conflict. Firstly, ‘standard internationalization’ occurs when two independent subjects of international law become engaged against one another as the conflict develops, either as the result of an intervention by an external actor such as a third state or an international organization, or via an internal development if the territorial state dissolves into two or more successor states during the conflict. Secondly, ‘complementary internationalization’ covers those modalities, in which the state/non-state asymmetry of the parties is maintained, and yet the situation transforms into an international armed conflict in law. This process may either be absolute, as with so-called wars of national liberation, or it may be relative, as in internationalization through recognition of belligerency, special agreements, or unilateral declarations.
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