A civil war is the situation which exists when within a State, an armed struggle opposes the regular armed forces to identifiable armed groups, or groups armed between them, in combat of which importance and the extension exceeds simple the Révolte or the Insurrection.
To be regarded as “War”, the hostilities must reach a certain degree of intensity and be prolonged a certain time. These two criteria make it possible to distinguish the civil war from the “interior disorders” which can be characterized by similar acts of violence but which do not present the characteristics of an armed conflict (riot, Insurrection, repressions, fights of factions between them or against the capacity in place, for example).
The localization of the conflict within a State thus distinguishes the civil war from the international armed conflict , which opposes the armed forces of at least two States.
The origin of a civil war can be of any nature: ethnic, religious, Community, social, economic, another war, policy, ideological or territorial. Particularly in this last case, a civil war could be regarded as a Guerre of independence if it aims at the fight against a colonial domination or a foreign occupation.
Modern concept of the civil warAs the definition indicates it, the concept even of civil war takes part of the concept of State, one conceives since it is particularly starting from the modern development of the State-nation that the civil wars developed, even if civil wars existed in the Antiquité.
The first modern civil wars date from the end of the 18th century and the 19th century: it is especially about wars of independence which devote the principle of the State-nation: the United States of America, Mexico, Greece or Cuba.
After an apparent pause marked by the two world conflagrations, at the beginning of the 20th century, and whereas the international conflicts seem to rarefy, the civil wars multiplied, particularly after the end of the Second world war:
- wars of independence or decolonization: Indonesia (1945-1949), Algeria (1954-1962),…
- civil wars or of independence supported or fomented by the the United States or the Soviet Union (the proxy wars of the Cold war which made it possible the two blocks to ensure or extend their respective zones of influence): Greece (1946-1949), Indo-China (1946-1954), Angola (1975-1992), Mozambique (1979-1992),…
- civil wars or of independence having made following the collapse of the Soviet block: Croatia, Slovenia (1991),…
- civil wars in ethnic or religious matter: certain aspects of the Wars of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Chetchnia,…
Statute of the civil war
Until 1949Until beginning of 20th century, civil war is regarded as business strictly interior which arises from the reserved domain of the State concerned, which has in fact and right any latitude to treat as good factious seems to him the , by regarding for example the rebels out of weapons as simple criminals and to apply his criminal law to them.
The civil war could however be internationalized (and thus be seen applied the Droit of the war) by a “ declaration of belligerency ”. Such a declaration of belligerency could be made
- by the government of the State concerned. The purpose of this extremely rare procedure was, for the known as State, to emerge from its international responsibility for the acts for the rebels, and took place to be only when the rebellion had become too strong. One raises five cases where this type of declaration was made.
- by the government of a Nonmember state. This procedure implied the application of the right of the war in the relations of the rebels with the State having recognized the quality of belligerent to them, and thus allowed a neutrality of the State-third as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations and commercial.
After the Geneva Conventions of 1949The Guerre of Spain in particular had shown the insufficiency of the international legal tools applying to the civil wars. In 1949, one is thus directed, with the Geneva Conventions, towards an objective definition of the concept of civil war and consequences which stick to it. Article 3 aims at imposing the application of minimal humane guarantees on the noninternational armed conflicts.
This effort was continued by the adoption, in 1977, of the Additional protocol II with Geneva Conventions, relating to the noninternational armed conflicts.
Lastly, article 8 of the statutes of the International penal court compares to the war crimes the violations of the essential rules of control of the noninternational conflicts.
Principal civil wars
- the tyranny and the fall of the Thirty with Athens between -404 and -403
- the list of the Roman Civil wars (-88 at the 3rd century)
- the Fitna, between Muawiya and “Ali, in 656 - 657, with the battles of the Camel and of Siffin
- English Civil war (1135-1154)
- War of Gempei to the Japan.
- Albigensian Crusade, 1209 with 1229, the Cathares, France.
- Civil war between Burgundian Armagnacs and, the assassination of Louis Ier of Orleans (1407) and the Treated of Arras (1435)
- War of the Two-Pinks, the 15th century in England
- Wars of religion of the 16th century in France
- Thirty Year old War Catholic, opponent and Lutherans of the Holy Germanic Roman Empire between 1618 and 1648
- English Civil war (1642-1649)
- the Sling, of 1648 with 1653
- Wars of the Vendée, the Year I with IV (1793 with 1796) in France.
- First war carlist in Spain of 1833 with 1840
- War of Swiss Sonderbund in in 1847
- American Civil War, 1861 with 1865 with the the United States
- bloody Week at the end of the Common of Paris in 1871.
- Mexican Civil war, of 1910 with 1930
- Russian Civil war of 1918 with 1921.
- Chinese Civil war, of 1928 with 1937, then of 1945 with 1949
- Spanish Civil war, of 1936 with 1939
- Greek Civil war of 1946 with 1949
- Civil war of 1947-1948 in Palestine agent between the November 30th 1947 and the May 14th 1948
- Congolese Civil war of 1960 with 1965 which led to the seizure of power by Mobutu Sese Seko
- Civil war of Guatemala of 1960 with 1996 after the fall of the president Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in 1954
- War of Lebanon, 1975 with 1991
- Civil wars in Rwanda of 1959 with 1996
- Algerian Civil war, of 1991 with 1997
- Civil war of Sierra Leone, 1991 with 2002
- Dislocation of Yugoslavia of 1991 with 2002
- Civil war in Afghanistan under the government of the moudjahidins and at time of the Taliban, of 1992 with 2001
- Congolese Civil war (Congo-Kinshasa) of 1996 with 1997 which saw the replacement of Mobutu by Laurent-Desired Kabila
- Congolese Civil war (Congo-Brazzaville) of 1993 with 1999
- Congolese Civil war (Congo-Kinshasa) of 1998 with 2002, implying nine countries.
- Civil war of Ivory Coast (2002 - 2005)
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