FRAMEWORK IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE LEGAL STATUS AND RIGHTS OF NONSTATE ACTORS IN CONTEMPORARY ARMED CONFLICT
Current events have shown that the more popular means and manner of warfare contemplated by the United Nations Charter
has been displaced by the rather irregular nature of armed conflict. Warfare are often waged by non-State agents in the name
of freedom fighting or for religious or other motivations. The many war-fronts entertained by States, sometimes trans-boundary in nature and un-contemplated by international rules have created a warped conundrum in international Humanitarian Law for the purposes of according any status known to law to these combatants/insurgents and identifying any rights they may have under the law of armed conflict. This essay is an attempt to identify the problems created by these unconventional conflicts: in categorizing the conflicts, in the award of legal status and in the
accord of legal rights to the aggressors or insurgents in question. The paper argues that although the rules, i.e. the Geneva Convention and the Protocols thereto, meant for the award of status and rights to these non-State agents appear inadequate to deal with the current situation, they cannot be left in a limbo. By extension, the application of the Martens Clause of Art 75 of the 1st Protocol to the Geneva Convention can be invoked to provide
at least some minimum protection to non-State actors in armed conflict.