A Century of the Law of Occupation
18 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law (2014)
22 Pages Posted: 7 May 2015 Last revised: 25 May 2017
Date Written: May 6, 2015
The law of occupation, which was first codified around the turn of the twentieth century, has not often been applied in the century that followed. States have always been reluctant to constrain themselves by its rules, and political, social and economic changes that have taken place through the years have gradually made such constraints difficult even with the best of intentions. As a result, the law of occupation developed largely through doctrine and little through practice. The present article examines how these factors have affected the law of occupation from within and without. From within, it traces the development of the definition of occupation and the legitimate scope of intervention by an occupant in the administration of the territory. From without, it addresses the relationship between the law of occupation and other bodies of law, principally the right to self determination and international human right law; and their impact on the development of criteria for determining the legality of occupation.
Keywords: law of occupation, Geneva Conventions, Hague Regulations, international human rights law, self determination, transformative occupation
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