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3.3.2. Armed conflict (international or internal)



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Last updated: December 2020

A definition of an international or an internal armed conflict within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD is not provided by the QD itself. In Diakité, the CJEU interprets the concept of ‘internal armed conflict’ under Article 15(c) QD and concludes that it must be given an interpretation, which is autonomous from international humanitarian law: 

…internal armed conflict exists, for the purposes of applying that provision, if a State’s armed forces confront one or more armed groups or if two or more armed groups confront each other. It is not necessary for that conflict to be categorised as ‘armed conflict not of an international character’ under international humanitarian law;33F[34]

In Diakité, the CJEU sets a low threshold to assess whether an armed conflict is taking place, noting that,

nor is it necessary to carry out, in addition to an appraisal of the level of violence present in the territory concerned, a separate assessment of the intensity of the armed confrontations, the level of organisation of the armed forces involved or the duration of the conflict.[35]

Furthermore, in the context of Article 15(c) QD, differentiation between ‘international’ or ‘internal’ armed conflict is not necessary, as the provision is equally applicable in situations of international and internal armed conflict. 

It should also be noted that an armed conflict can be taking place only in parts of the territory.

According to COI, confrontations between the pro-government forces and anti-government groups, as well as confrontations between different insurgent groups, take place across Afghanistan.

Given the interpretation of the concept of ‘internal armed conflict’ by the CJEU, and based on the COI, it can be concluded that an internal armed conflict, in the meaning of Article 15(c) QD, takes place in the territory of Afghanistan and the security situation in the country is volatile.
With regard to the provinces, the assessment has to proceed to examine whether the remaining criteria under Article 15(c) QD are also (cumulatively) met.


[34] Diakité, para 35. [back to text]
[35] ibid[back to text]