Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC said Monday all conditions are met for the guerrillas to be granted the status of a belligerent force, which would bind the rebels and government to international war laws.
In an interview with Cuba’s state press agency Prensa Latina, FARC negotiator “Andres Paris” said that “if the government sat down at the [peace talks] table and the Red Cross has been guarantor of the moving of our fighters and commanders to Cuba, it means all requirements of the Geneva Protocol to be recognized as a belligerent force are met.”
The FARC, determined a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Europe, is currently not recognized as belligerent force, but as an insurgency.
According to Crimes of War, a website on international war law, a rebel group can gain “belligerent status” if “it controlled territory in the State against which it was rebelling; it declared independence, if its goal was secession; it had well-organized armed forces; it began hostilities against the government; and, importantly, the government recognized it as a belligerent.”
Additionally, “the conflict must be confined within a State’s borders and generally not involve foreign parties. As soon as the situation on the ground meets these criteria, parties are expected to conform to a distinct body of humanitarian law crystallized most notably in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and in Additional Protocol II. These rules apply regardless of the legal standing of the parties.”
According to Paris, the FARC have met all conditions to be granted belligerent status and are unfairly considered a terrorist group or drug trafficking organization, which allows the Colombian state to treat members of the FARC as common criminals instead of prisoners of war.