Almost every nation on earth is in a state of war.
The Hague Convention and Geneva Convention are the two principal ‘positive’ laws governing the conduct of war on land. Nations which are signatories to these conventions (almost every nation on earth) must observe the rules set forth therein.
The conventions do not only deal with circumstances when a direct declaration of war has been made, they deal with ALL belligerent activity – a declaration is not necessary, or at least it is not normal practice.
Article 3 of the Geneva Convention states that it applies to conflict both internationally and to that which occurs within the territory of a signatory nation. And article 2 states that “The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party [signatory nation], even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.”
Given that almost every nation on earth is a signatory nation, and given that ‘occupation’ is legally defined as “the possession, control or use of real property,” anyone who is with possession, control or use of real property (which is everyone), will be presumed to be in occupation of it as an ‘occupier’ unless that presumption is rebutted. For as long as that presumption stands, one who is in possession, control or use of real property will be considered a ‘combatant’ under the laws of war on land.
An owner or tenant is a type of occupant. However, in order to be an owner or tenant it is necessary to be identifiable as a name/estate. In a very real sense, by the simple act of claiming a name/estate as one’s own (or even trespassing upon it by using it as a means of personal identification), one is at war.
To correct these mistakes and to identify oneself truthfully is, under the laws of war on land, to be at peace with the occupying force, and:
“Broadly speaking, the peaceful inhabitants of the enemy are immune from warlike attack so long as such inhabitants take no part in the fighting, Thus, the law of war separates the population of the enemy into two classes: the combatants and the peaceful inhabitants.”
~ Law of Land Warfare, J.A.G.S text 7
Under the laws of war on land, each wo/man fits into one of these two categories: either she/he is a combatant, “a person who participates directly in hostilities” or she/he is not. A peaceful inhabitant is at war with no one, and a belligerent force is bound to recognize this.
“Inhabitants who rise in an occupied territory have no rights under international agreement. Conventional war law deals with them, as it deals with spies, on the broad principle (a principle not unknown to humanity in other spheres of action) that he who tries and fails is entitled to no consideration.”
~ War Rights on Land, J.M. Spaight
It naturally follows that, under the laws of war, one who is in ‘occupation’ of real property (an inhabitant who rises against an occupying force), foregoes their human rights (secured by international agreement). As sovereign wo/men we occupy nothing and use everything.