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Introduction

From: Neutrality in Contemporary International Law

James Upcher

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 19 January 2021

Subject(s):
Armed conflict — Belligerence — Belligerents — Conduct of hostilities — Neutrality and non-alignment

This Introduction provides an overview of the law of neutrality. The law of neutrality governs the relationship between States which are engaged in hostilities and those States which are not engaged in hostilities—between belligerents and neutrals, to use the traditional terminology. It strikes many today as outmoded and obsolete, of a different era of international law. Yet it would be unrealistic to say that neutrality—or, at least, non-participation in hostilities by non-belligerent States—has disappeared entirely. Neutrality may be used to denote a course of foreign policy as well as a legal status. The Introduction then considers permanent neutrality and neutralization, as well as the doctrine of recognition of belligerency. A permanently neutral State is forbidden from entering into alliances or treaties of guarantee that may involve it in war not involving defence of its own territory. Meanwhile, the doctrine of recognition of belligerency was the means by which the law of neutrality was applicable to non-international conflicts.

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