Rebellion - Encyclopedia

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REBELLION, the act or continuance in act of a rebel or rebels (Lat. rebellio, rebellis, a compound of re-, against, and bellum, war). A rebel is one who engages in armed resistance to the government to which he owes allegiance. For the distinction between Civil War and Rebellion, see WAR, LAWS OF. Where individuals as distinguished from groups of men are concerned the character of rebel is easier to determine. That the alleged act of war was done by order of another cannot be in principle an excuse for a subject or citizen of any state taking arms against it. Under the rules of war adopted at the Hague in 1907, moreover, any excuse for doing so is removed by the provision that a belligerent is forbidden to compel nationals of the hostile party to take part in operations of war against their own country, "even if they were in the belligerent's service before the commencement of the war" (art. 123). In the case of R. v. Louw, known as the "Calvinia Flogging case" (Supreme Court of the Cape Colony, Feb. 18, 1904), the question of the validity of the excuse of acting under orders contrary to allegiance was discussed in an uncertain spirit, and in a previous case, the Moritz case, tried before the Treason Court at Mafeking (Nov. 7, 1901), the court held that insurgent nationals "who had joined the burghers must be placed on the same footing as burghers fighting against us." There may be special circumstances operating to qualify the application of a principle, but the above stated principle, as such, must be regarded as the only legal basis of argument on the subject. (T. BA.)

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