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18 The Law of Neutrality

Dieter Fleck

From: The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law (4th Edition)

Edited By: Dieter Fleck

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 September 2023

Air law and law of outer space — Armed conflict — Innocent passage

This chapter focuses on rules of the law of neutrality concerning the protection of the victims of armed conflicts, which must be considered as part of international humanitarian law. ‘Neutrality’ describes the particular status, as defined by international law, of a state not party to an armed conflict. This status entails specific rights and duties in the relationship between the neutral and the belligerent states. On one hand, there is the right of the neutral state to remain apart from, and not to be adversely affected by, the conflict. On the other hand, there is the duty of non-participation and impartiality. The right not to be adversely affected means that the relationship between the neutral and belligerent States is governed by the law of peace, which is modified only in certain respects by the law of neutrality. In particular, the neutral State must tolerate certain controls in the area of maritime commerce. The duty of non-participation means, above all, that the state must abstain from supporting a party to the conflict. This duty not to support also means that the neutral state is under a duty not to allow one party to the conflict to use the resources of the neutral state against the will of the opponent.

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