The ‘Revolving Door’ of Direct Participation in Hostilities: A Way Forward?

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Contemporary trends of warfare have witnessed a so-called ‘civilian footprint’ in support of military operations while battlefields have increasingly shifted towards urban areas. International humanitarian law established a framework through which civilians are protected from direct attack ‘unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities’. Three key areas have traditionally been associated with the analysis of direct participation in hostilities (‘DPH’): civilian legal status, what behaviour amounts to DPH, and what modalities govern this loss of protection. This article will focus on the latter and attempt to create a feasible and practical framework capable of harnessing the temporal scope of DPH and limit the so-called ‘revolving door phenomenon’. The framework developed in this article will account for criteria that could and should aid decision-making on the battlefield, most notably causal associations between individuals and DPH acts and the physical or non-physical nature of DPH acts’ deployments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)410-446
Number of pages47
JournalJournal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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