Partisan

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A guerrilla commander teaching his fighters to use weapons, near Smolensk, in 1941
German soldiers shooot people classified as partisans, in 1941.

A partisan is an armed fighter, who is not part of the regular troops of a country or state. The term comes from Italian, where it meant member of a political party. There is no separate legal status for partisans in international law. The law of war uses four criteria to legally define someone as a prisoner of war, if the person is captured:

  1. There is someone at the head of the organisation, who assumes liability
  2. They can be identified by a sign or mark, which is visible from far away
  3. They carry their weapons openly
  4. They adhere to the customs and laws of war, during their operation.[1][2]

In 1977, there were two additional protocols: They clarified that it is sufficient to carry the weapons openly only on some occasions, to be titled armed combatant.[3][4]

References[change | change source]

  1. "3rd Geneva Convention, 1949 relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of war: Article 4: Prisoners of War".
  2. "Geneva convention for the amelioration of the treatment of the wounded and the sick, 1949; Article 13: Protected persons".
  3. "Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977. Article 43: Armed forces".
  4. "Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977. Article 44: Combatants and prisoners of war".