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2 Declarations of War and Neutrality

From: War

Andrew Clapham

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 02 December 2022

Subject(s):
Necessity — Armed conflict — Declaration

This chapter looks at the institution of a Declaration of War and the rights and obligations associated with neutrality. Declarations of War, and the question of who is entitled to make them, remain significant in some circumstances. In particular they create expectations that other states may choose to declare their Neutral Status. The chapter separates out formal Neutral Status from non-belligerency and the rights and obligations that attach to such non-participating states. It is argued that while some rights and obligations apply to all non-participating states, the older rights and obligations applicable to Neutral Status only apply where a state expressing an explicit intention to acquire Neutral Status under international law. Switzerland’s particular permanent neutrality is examined and explained in the context of conflicts such as the conflicts in the Gulf in 1991 and 2003 and with regard to UN authorized use of force. The rights of a belligerent towards neutral shipping on the high seas and in the context of blockade are touched on but dealt with in more detail in Chapter 8. It is suggested that there should no longer be any international law Belligerent Right to attack or seize neutral shipping or goods in the context of breach of blockade.

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