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Common Article 3

Definition

A provision common to all four of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 which provides that in a “conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum,” certain provisions protecting “persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed” out of combat by detention. One such provision which was focused on in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) is the prohibition on “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

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