Main topic




Civil war is an armed conflict between political, national and other antagonistic social groups in one state for purpose of achievement of political and economic interests. Civil wars rarely end up with compromise and they are made as long as one side wins and established power or unless the peace is imposed by international community. That is why offence is strategy and tactics of each side. In material sense, civil war is an organized armed conflict which is similar or even equal to international conflict by its external features and it may have a form of frontal or guerrilla war. Hence, difference between civil and international conflict is not in the way of making war but in the nature of the war sides. Civil wars may have objective of changing existing political system or regime, secession of territory and its annexing to another state or creation of a separate independent state. Civil war that was led on territory of Yugoslavia was the war for eradication and creation of new states on ethnical basis. In other words, it was the war for the change of territorial sovereignty. Status (the state of affairs) of two conflicted sides in civil war may be equated if the rebelling side succeeds to gain recognition of the status of conflicted side by legal government. In the past civil wars used to be strictly an internal affair of one state. On several occasions the General Assembly of the United Nations underlined that internal conflicts were internal affairs of a state. However, from the Spanish Civil War in 1936 to the beginning of 21st century many civil wars used to be precedents or episodes of international conflicts. Internal conflicts may be also a consequence of indirect aggression. The General Assembly defined aggression while encompassing within this term also infringement of armed gangs and mercenaries with objective of provoking armed violence, disorder or uprising in the state. In this case the state has the right to take measures on the basis of its domestic legislation, but it may define these measures as self-defense as well on the basis of international law. In situation when the war is proclaimed to be international crime, it is less becoming logical that formal wars start with declaration of the war, as there is no state which would risk being accused as an aggressor by international community, but in this case some great powers tend to try to accomplish their goals under cover of provoking civil wars and interventions into internal affairs of a state. Greatest number of post-Second World War local wars had started as civil wars, but after foreign military interventions grew into international conflicts, f. e. Kongo, Vietnam, Lebanon, etc. It also happens that civil war is led alongside (in parallel to) to international war and it happens in case when a legal government makes war with rebelling forces and aggressors’ forces at the same time. However, it is often very difficult to understand whether one internal armed conflict may be considered to be civil war or only a common rebellion. International law has not got the criteria for differentiation of these two forms of conflict and so each internal conflict is observed separately on its own and estimation is usually made on the basis of the abovementioned criteria. For example, in practice they usually take into consideration the circumstances regarding intensity and duration of the armed conflicts, their territorial range, the range of engagement of forces, military organization of uprising, compliance of the rebels to their political elites (de facto the government), respect of the rules and customs of war, etc. These are elements for possible recognition of the rebels as the war making side.

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PERIODICS Serbian Political Thought 2/2020 2/2020 УДК 355.426 165-182