The concept of ''unprivileged belligerency'' touches on one of the most important tenets in international humanitarian law, namely the distinction between combatants and civilians. In connection with the concept, it is first and foremost of interest whether the group of so- called ‘unlawful combatants''/''unprivileged belligerents'' can be considered a status in international humanitarian law. It is being argued in this work that ‘unprivileged belligerents'' do not constitute a distinct legal category falling outside the existing legal framework and do benefit from substantial protections under international humanitarian as well as human rights law. The legal implications and consequences attached to this term including their protections under international law will be closely examined before focusing on the different groups usually affiliated with the term. Furthermore, the Bush administration''s conduct with regard to detainees in Guantánamo, apprehended in the administration''s ‘war on terror'' and labeled as ‘unlawful enemy combatants'', as well as the conformity of this conduct with international law, is scrutinized.