The use of military forces in the fight against all criminal threats that affect democracies is viable and necessary, but the important thing is to know when and how force can be used as a first option in order not to incur in an illegitimate and illegal act. This article develops the assertion by first recognizing the terms "human rights" and "international humanitarian law" and how the actions of the armed forces can be applied and restrained within the territory of a country. In addition, it recognizes the danger of the type of non-traditional warfare currently occurring against the populations of some countries, and how the mission of police and military forces must be re-evaluated and adapted to the new operating environments. Finally, this article addresses the daunting questions of how to complete these new missions successfully within legal parameters, and how to respond to "enemy" allegations and attacks that may take the form of political and judicial tactics
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Military forces in Latin America are being called upon by governments and society to contribute to the fight against non-state armed actors such as criminal gangs, drug traffickers and terrorists. In order to accomplish this task, there is the possibility of actions within the framework of human rights and international humanitarian law. If the armed groups faced by governments meet certain objective characteristics and there is political will, the application of international humanitarian law is viable, as Colombia has demonstrated; the norm is legitimate and facilitates the neutralization and dismantling of the threat.
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