Civil War

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Civil War

Civil war exists when two or more opposing parties within a country resort to arms to settle a conflict or when a substantial portion of the population takes up arms against the legitimate government of a country. Within International Law distinctions are drawn between minor conflicts like riots, where order is restored promptly, and full-scale insurrections finding opposing parties in political as well as military control over different areas. When an internal conflict reaches sufficient proportions that the interests of other countries are affected, outside states may recognize a state of insurgency. A recognition of insurgency, whether formal or de facto, indicates that the recognizing state regards the insurgents as proper contestants for legitimate power. Although the precise status of insurgents under international law is not well-defined, recognized insurgents traditionally gain the protection afforded soldiers under international rules of law pertaining to war. A state may also decide to recognize the contending group as a belligerent, a status that invokes more well-defined rights and responsibilities. Once recognized as a belligerent party, that party obtains the rights of a belligerent party in a public war, or war between opposing states. The belligerents stand on a par with the parent state in the conduct and settlement of the conflict. In addition, states recognizing the insurgents as belligerents must assume the duties of neutrality toward the conflict.


U.S. Civil War; War.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Many other intranational conflicts also remain unresolved, with a bloody trail of failed peace agreements left in their wake.
(2.) It is worth noting that most if not all of these protracted intranational conflicts are, like the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, about "the redefinition of territory, state formation, or control of the state" and are marked by "long-standing animosities rooted in a perceived threat to identity or survival." JOHN PAUL LEDERACH, BUILDING PEACE: SUSTAINABLE RECONCILIATION IN DIVIDED SOCIETIES 8, 17 (1997).
"Psychological" reasons for compliance may, as Lederach posits, be particularly important in intranational conflicts, in which the enemy is closer at hand and the animosities are often more intensely felt and of longer standing.