(image source: Oxford Journals)
The most recent issue of EJIL, the organ of the European Society of International Law, contains several articles of the symposium International Law and World War One.
The Law of Military Occupation from the 1907 Hague Peace Conference to the Outbreak of World War II: Was Further Codification Unnecessary or Impossible ? (Thomas Graditzky)
World War I is commonly perceived as having had a profound impact on international law. Such a general perception, be it justified or not, might in any event prove erroneous when looking at specific areas of this law. A focus on the law governing military occupation reveals a notable absence of change over the course of the war and the subsequent interwar period. In search of possible reasons, this article first looks at various opportunities that emerged – but were not ultimately seized – to adapt treaty law in the period between the two world wars. It then assesses whether changes had in fact occurred through other channels such as customary international law or treaty interpretation. Based on the observation that no meaningful change intervened, can it be concluded that, on the whole, the Hague regulations on military occupation met stakeholders’ expectations and therefore were not altered? The author suggests, rather, that the equilibrium founded in The Hague in 1899 (and confirmed in 1907) on the lines of tension between the states involved remained operational throughout the period under scrutiny.
The Impact of World War I on the Law Governing the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Making of a Humanitarian Subject (Neville Wylie & Lindsey Cameron)
This article evaluates the impact of World War I on the development of international humanitarian law (IHL) regarding the treatment of the prisoner of war (POW). In contrast to traditional scholarship, which overlooks the war’s significance on the jus in bello, we argue that in the area of POW law, the changes brought about by the war were significant and long-lasting and led to the creation of a POW convention in 1929 that set IHL onto a markedly different path from that followed before 1914. Although the process was only completed with the signing of the four Geneva Conventions in 1949, many of the distinguishing features of modern POW law had their roots in the experience of captivity during World War I and the legal developments that followed in its wake. In particular, the scale, duration and intensity of wartime captivity after 1914 gave rise to a conceptual shift in the way POWs were perceived, transforming their status from ‘disarmed combatants’, whose special privileges were derived from their position as members of the armed forces, to ‘humanitarian subjects’, whose treatment was based on an understanding of their humanitarian needs and rights.More information with Oxford Journals.