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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: 21 January 2021

Armed conflict — Conduct of hostilities — Neutrality and non-alignment

This Conclusion explains that the traditional law of neutrality is a body of law that sits uncomfortably with certain elements of what is a central pillar of contemporary international law: the law on the use of force. For that reason, it tends to occupy a marginal existence in much contemporary armed conflict, and a number of writers have sought to dismiss its existence in contemporary international law. What is apparent from this study is that while parts of the law of neutrality are no longer relevant to the contemporary international legal order, others have demonstrated a surprising durability despite being considerably reshaped. Since the law of neutrality remains the most developed body of rules regulating the interactions of parties and non-parties in international armed conflict, it is likely that its rights and duties will continue to be invoked for some time. After all, the purpose that animates the law of neutrality—the prevention of the spread and escalation of armed conflict—remains an important one. Nevertheless, much of the law of neutrality languishes in a state of disrepair. There exists, for instance, a need for many of the duties of neutrality to be rethought for the twenty-first century, and to be developed with regard to other areas of international law.

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