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13 Occupation

Sylvain Vité

From: The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law

Edited By: Ben Saul, Dapo Akande

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 July 2024

Armed conflict — Occupation

This chapter discusses the phenomenon of ‘occupation’. Occupation refers to this particular phase in international armed conflict (IAC) where a belligerent has overpowered the adverse party and taken control of enemy territories, but the final outcome of the war has not yet been decided. Occupation is thus a transition phase between the end of active hostilities and formal conclusion of the conflict. It is a period where foreign armed forces are responsible for the administration of territories belonging to the defeated state. During this transitory period towards peace, international law seeks to ensure that the rights of the territorial state are not infringed and that local populations are protected against any risk of abuse by potentially hostile authorities. The chapter then looks at the sources, scope, and substance of the law of occupation. While relevant rules mainly fall under international humanitarian law (IHL), it is recognized today that human rights law is also applicable during occupation.

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