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Sources of the law of occupation

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Chapter Summary

Three systems of law apply in territory under an enemy occupation: the indigenous law of the sovereign state, to the extent that the occupant does not perceive it necessary to suspend it; the laws enacted by the occupant; and the customary and conventional international law on belligerent occupation. Apart from treaties and customs, other international legal instruments applicable in occupied territory encompass general principles of law and Security Council resolutions. The growing reliance on the Council resolution in authorising deployment of troops in a foreign land and delegating enforcement action necessitates a complex assessment of the legal nature and effect of the Council resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The chapter also examines whether and to what extent the rules embodied in the Geneva Conventions have acquired customary law status and hence binding character on all states.

Keywords: belligerent occupation; customary international humanitarian law; Geneva Conventions; law of occupation; Security Council resolutions



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