Los grupos armados organizados en el Derecho Internacional Humanitario

AutorValeria Monserrath Sánchez Morales
CargoIndependent legal researcher, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5346-7681
Revista Facultad de Jurisprudencia RFJ No.8 Dic. 2020 Vol.II pp. 96-128
Sánchez, V. Organized armed groups in the International Humanitarian Law
Organized armed groups in the International
Humanitarian Law
Los grupos armados organizados en el Derecho
Internacional Humanitario
Valeria Monserrath Sánchez Morales
Independent legal researcher
City: Quito
Country: Ecuador
Original article (research note)
RFJ, No 8, 2020, pp. 96-128, ISSN 2588-0837
ABSTRACT: States comply with international treaties because
they have negotiated, signed and ratified them; however,
organised armed groups are not part of these processes and
still have an obligation to comply with basic rules of war. This
document argues that the Internacional Humanitarian Law
must be respected by all those involved in a conflict; besides,
it provides arguments for organised armed groups to commit
to a norm that they have not directly accepted. International
Humanitarian Law as an erga omnes norm shows a specific
nature and application, which is why it applies to all citizens, it
is a customary norm for which it obliges respect for the norm
by all individuals. Finally, an armed group regroups citizens of
a country, so they must respect the norms established for the
KEYWORDS: Humanitarian Law, Military forces, Armed
conflicts, Treaties.
RESUMEN: Debe entenderse que los Estados cumplen con los
tratados internacionales porque ellos los han negociado, firmado
y ratificado; sin embargo, los grupos armados organizados
no son parte de estos procesos y aun así tienen la obligación
de cumplir con normas básicas de la guerra. Este documento
argumenta los motivos por lo que el Derecho Internacional
DOI 10.26807/rfj.v2i8.245
Revista Facultad de Jurisprudencia RFJ No.8 Dic. 2020 Vol.II pp. 96-128
Sánchez, V. Organized armed groups in the International Humanitarian Law
Humanitario debe ser respetado por todos los intervinientes
en un conflicto; además, brinda argumentos para que los
grupos armados organizados se obliguen a una norma que
no han aceptado directamente. Se especifica que el Derecho
Internacional Humanitario es una norma erga omnes, por lo
que rige a todos los ciudadanos; es una norma consuetudinaria
por lo que obliga el respeto a la norma por parte de todos los
individuos y finalmente, un grupo armado está conformado por
ciudadanos de un país, por lo que deben respetar las normas
fijadas para el Estado.
PALABRAS CLAVE: Derecho Humanitario, Fuerzas armadas,
Conflicto armado, Instrumento internacional.
War has been seen by several states as an alternative
to conflict resolution, as it “kills the enemy” and determines
the power of one state over another. This is why it is vitally
important to determine that States, organised armed groups,
national liberation movements and individuals within a levée en
masse have certain rights and obligations to respect according
to the role they play in an armed conflict.
This publication seeks to determine the motives,
specifically of organised armed groups, for respecting
International Humanitarian Law (IHL), it is understood that
these are not part of the stages for the creation of an international
norm such as treaties, conventions or agreements.
After defining the armed groups as a recognised party
to an armed conflict, an attempt will be made to determine the
obligations under treaty law, customary law and doctrine, in
order to finally identify the internal causes of the armed groups
organised to accept and respect IHL.
This work has been written because, when analysing
the subjects that can intervene in an armed conflict, it is
visualised that the Armed Forces are obliged to respect IHL.
After all, their States have ratified the Geneva, Hague and New
York Conventions (which are the primary sources within this
Revista Facultad de Jurisprudencia RFJ No.8 Dic. 2020 Vol.II pp. 96-128
Sánchez, V. Organized armed groups in the International Humanitarian Law
branch). However, when talking about armed groups, there is
no legal link that leads to an obligation to respect IHL rules,
since as we have said, they cannot negotiate or ratify treaties,
but even within this margin. Also, it has been visualised that
over time, most of the Organised Armed Groups (OAG) have
respected and complied with the mentioned rules within the
armed conflicts that have developed.
Academically, the following research project will
determine the reasons why an organised armed group respects
and complies with international humanitarian law. José Manuel
Sánchez (2016) states that “the question arises concerning
non-State entities or armed groups that have no connection
with government forces, but rather as such dissident forces
participate in an armed conflict of a non-international
character” (p. 77). For this reason, the need arises to determine
the reasons these armed groups have for respecting the legal
Within the following lines, we will seek to determine if
there is a rule that obliges Organised Armed Groups to respect
International Humanitarian Law.
When considering state of the art on this subject, it
can be seen that this approach has not yet been determined;
however, a small approach refers to the fact that armed groups
have been considered as subjects of Public International Law
when a conflict exists since this is a means of linking them to
international norms.
Wars have never been a distant reality to the
development of society. All history has witnessed an armed
conflict that has helped to create and determine standards.
Considering then that, “if states have relations,
those relations must be directed by rules that require
careful observance, and are called international laws”.
(Alcorta, 2009, p. 10)

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