Lieber Studies Volume 3

Recognition of Belligerency and the Law of Armed Conflict

Robert McLaughlin 

Monograph, 324 Pages
ISBN: 9780197507056
Published 27 March 2020 

Published by Oxford University Press


Disclaimer: Books in the Lieber Studies Series are not official publications of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense. The views expressed in these volumes represent the authors’ personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, the United States Military Academy, or any other department or agency of the United States Government. The analysis presented stems from academic research of publicly available sources, not from protected operational information. 


The customary doctrine on recognition of belligerency functioned as the definitive legal scheme for differentiating internal conflict from “civil wars” for almost 200 years prior to the modern era of progressive development of the law of armed conflict. 

Employing a legal historical approach, this book describes the thematic and schematic fundamentals of the doctrine, and analyses some of the more significant challenges to its application. In doing so, the book assesses whether, how, and why the doctrine on recognition of belligerency was considered “fit for purpose,” and seeks to inform debate as to its continuity and utility within the modern scheme of the law of armed conflict.  

Table of Contents

Introduction by Professor Michael N. Schmitt 


Chapter I: The Scope and Structure of This Book 

Chapter II: The Customary Three Level Scheme Part I – Rebellion and Insurgency 

Chapter III: The Customary Three Level Scheme Part II – Belligerency 

Chapter IV: The Purposes of Recognition of Belligerency 

Chapter V: Some Challenging Issues and Case Studies in Recognition of Belligerency 

Chapter VI: What if Recognition of Belligerency Remains Legally Available? 


Volume 3 Masthead

General Editor
Professor Michael N. Schmitt 

Managing Editors
COL Shane R. Reeves
LTC Winston S. Williams 

Editorial Team
LTC Lakeyisa Harvin
LTC Thomas Oakley
MAJ Ronald Alcala
MAJ Phillip Dickerson
MAJ Trenton Powell
CPT Robert Lawless