This chapter analyses whether and in which situations fighters engaged in internationalized armed conflicts may qualify for combatant status in practice. The chapter puts forward a three-pronged approach dependent on the applicable legal framework and the nature of the armed forces of the conflict party in question. Firstly, the relevant criteria are the most lenient for members of regular armed forces in internationalized conflicts governed only by Geneva Convention III. Secondly, members of irregular armed forces in those same conflicts must meet additional criteria stipulated by that Convention. Thirdly, fighters in conflicts to which Additional Protocol I applies as well must comply with its requirements, some of which may be more onerous than the corresponding criteria of Geneva Convention III. Overall, the chapter demonstrates that it is not only theoretically plausible, but also practically feasible for fighters engaged in internationalized armed conflicts to actually qualify for combatant status.
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