THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE CONTESTING PARTIES
FORETOLD by months of cumulative unrest and violence, the standard of armed rebellion was raised in Spain on July 14, 1936, when a detachment of the army seized the government radio station at Valencia and broadcast the announcement that all military garrisons were in control of the Fascists. Government-censored news dispatches admitted the existence of widespread "insurrection" throughout Spain and its possessions on July 18 By the 22d of the same month the rebels controlled half of the national territory and had established a Junta Defensa Nacional "assuming the powers of the Spanish State." The Madrid Government decreed all rebellious officers and troops guilty of high treason, announced a determination to "wage decisive warfare on the rebels," distributed arms to the populace and created a "Red Militia."1
The most immediate questions of law which arise in any insurrection or civil war are: first, what is the legal status of the rebellious group within the state; second, what is the legal status of each of the contesting parties in the society of states; third, what rights do each of the parties have in dealing with the other, and with foreign states?
Distinction is often made between revolt, insurrection, rebellion, revolution, and civil war, although all are forms and degrees of opposition to and an endeavor to bring about an alteration of the institutions or politics of an established government.2 By the municipal law of all countries, the taking up of arms against the state or its duly established government is a supreme crime, treason. Usually the____________________
The various forms may be differentiated thus:
An insurrection or revolt is usually confined to a small portion of a country, is of relatively short duration, and supported by a minimum of organization. It is distinguishable from organized crime and is opposed by the troops of the state instead of by the police.
A rebellion or revolution usually embraces a larger part of a country, is supported by authorities assuming the functions and powers of a government and by organized and