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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Status of Armed Forces on Foreign Territory Agreements (SOFA)

Paul J Conderman

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 25 May 2024

Sovereignty — Armed forces — Collective security — Peace keeping

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 A SOFA is an agreement defining the legal position of a visiting military force deployed in the territory of a friendly State. A SOFA does not, per se, grant a right to be present on foreign territory (see ius ad praesentiam, para. 33 below) or a ‘right to fight’. A legal basis for engaging in measures involving the use of military force (ius ad bellum) must be established from other sources of international law (see also Military Forces Abroad). 2 Despite some case-law to the contrary (see paras 31–32 below), it is widely accepted today that in the absence of...
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