Recognition of Insurgent and Belligerent Organisations in International Law

13 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2014

See all articles by Rashi Gupta

Rashi Gupta

Nirma University - Institute of Law

Date Written: April 23, 2014


There is a a very minimal line of difference between the terms, “terrorism”, "insurgency" and "belligerent" and in almost all cases these are terms denoting the different stages of the same process. The second half of the twentieth century has witnessed an increase in insurgent activities in several countries around the world, for example, the I.R.A. in Northern Ireland, the JKLF in Kashmir, Hizbul Mujahideen in Afghanistan, the L.T.T.E. in Sri Lanka the Iranian-backed insurgents in Iraq, Nicararguan cases and so on.

Insurgency means rebellion, riot or mutiny by portion of the citizens of a State against the established government. It indicates armed struggle by dissident forces the established government in a state. On the other hand 'Belligerent signifies a stage of the civil war in which there are two contenders for power that can be placed on a platform and there is something like a state of war, and not only civil conflicts. Despite conflicting opinions as to the exact definition of "insurgency" there is a consensus that the insurgency can become belligerency.

International law treats insurgencies and civil wars in the internal affairs falling within the domestic jurisdiction of the State concerned and it is up to municipal law enforcement to deal with it. Furthermore belligerence has a formal status that implies rights and duties. However, if the rebels are granted the status of belligerents, they shall become subjects of international law and may be responsible for their actions. Therefore it becomes the duty of the international law to recognize belligerency once the conditions are met.

The concept of insurgency and belligerency are undefined and are extremely subjective as it may depend on the state whether to grant recognition to a rebel group or not. Thus the research project will examine the consequences of belligerent and the insurgents and its implication on the government. It will also discuss in detail the concepts of belligerency and insurgency and the conditions required for their recognition. It will also lay emphasis on the duties of a neutral state towards the insurgents, belligerents and the lawful governments of the state.

Keywords: Belligerents, Insurgents, Neutral state, Recognition

Suggested Citation

Gupta, Rashi, Recognition of Insurgent and Belligerent Organisations in International Law (April 23, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Rashi Gupta (Contact Author)

Nirma University - Institute of Law ( email )

Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway
Ahmedabad, Gujarat 382 481

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics