Når er enkeltpersoner lovlige mål i væpnede konflikter?
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- Forsvarets høgskole 
In the new wars of today, the principle of distinction is thoroughly put to the test. The enemy of the state is no longer regular forces and mass armies of other states, but dangerous individuals and armed groups, operating against a state. The enemies as such are individuals operating internationally, or inside the territory of a state, without making the effort to distinguish themselves from peaceful civilians. Hence, from a legal point of view, the question is when are these individuals’ lawful targets in armed conflicts? Members of the armed forces of a state are combatants, and as such, they are lawful targets, but why is it so? Civilians are protected from the consequences of war “unless, and for such time they take a direct part in hostilities”.1 The challenging factor concerning this rule is that it has no universally accepted definition. This paper examines when individuals are lawful targets in armed conflict and observes that there is hardly any way to avoid a case-by-case approach, which examines the individual circumstances, to determine whether a civilian is taking a direct part in hostilities.