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Private property in occupied territory

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Chapter Summary

Article 46 of the 1907 Hague Regulations lays down the general requirement of respecting private property in occupied territory. This chapter classifies three categories of private property: immovable property; movable property; and taxes and contributions. Pillage in occupied territory is absolutely prohibited under Article 47 Hague Regulations and Article 33(2) Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV). Under the Hague Regulations, contrary to privately owned movables which are subject to detailed rules, there is no express reference to immovable private property in occupied territory. Two general rules governing all private property (movable or immovable) must be noted. First, pillage is absolutely prohibited, and punishable under national military laws. Second, reprisals against the property of protected persons are forbidden. The power of the occupant to expropriate private land is recognised as an implicit right, even though the concept of expropriation as such is not expressly mentioned in the conventional law of occupation.

Keywords: expropriation; immovable property; movable property; occupied territory; pillage; private property



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