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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Scorched Earth Policy

Alexander Schwarz, Maria Grigat

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 15 December 2019

Subject(s):
Cultural property / heritage — Conduct of hostilities

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 Scorched earth policy is a strategy of warfare whereby the retreating armed forces destroy or devastate whole towns, facilities, agriculture, transport routes, and general infrastructure in order to deprive the advancing enemy forces or the belligerent population of food, shelter, fuel, communications, and other valuable resources that may be useful for them. Scorched earth strategies regularly have a negative impact on the civilian population left behind (Civilian Population in Armed Conflict). Although not specifically defined under international law, the term...
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