Violent fighting between two or more parties that threatens the safety and security of communities or of the general population. This includes situations of repression through coercion or fear backed by the threat of violence, as well as acts of violence up to and including the level of armed conflict.
According to international humanitarian law, the term "armed conflict" is used to refer to situations where hostilities reach a threshold synonymous with war. Although rarely questioned when applied to conflicts between states, the term often comes under debate when used in relation to internal conflict. In essence, it involves armed parties at a higher and more sustained level of violence than "situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence or other acts of a similar nature" (Article 8.2(d), Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court).