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Editor: Frits Kalshoven
The celebration of the Centennial of the First International Peace Conference took longer than the original conference itself. For almost two years experts from all over the world exchanged views on the progress, failures, lacunae, and prospects of international law. They focussed their attention on the three topics of the 1899 Hague Conference: disarmament, humanitarian law and laws of war, and peaceful settlement of disputes. Starting with preliminary reports by world-renowned experts in their respective fields of competence ( Hans Blix on disarmament, Christopher Greenwood on humanitarian law and laws of war, and Francisco Orrego Vicuña and Christopher Pinto on peaceful settlement of disputes), discussions took place at regional legal advisers meetings, universities, NGO conferences, expert seminars, and over the internet. These culminated in 1999 in two major expert conferences in The Hague (The Netherlands), and St. Petersburg (Russia). The results were reported to the United Nations General Assembly at the closing of the Decade of International Law, later that year.
The present volume, compiled by the Centennial organizers and edited by Frits Kalshoven (emeritus professor of international law at the University of Leiden and chairman of the International Fact-Finding Commission established under Article 90 of the 1977 Protocol I for the protection of victims of international armed conflicts), includes both the major documents produced in the course of the Centennial celebrations (printed) and the various discussion papers as they appeared on the internet (on complementary CD-ROM). In addition to the Centennial discussion documents, historical papers on the 1899 conference diplomacy have been provided by Governments representing the 1899 delegations (also on CD-ROM). Together, they provide invaluable information on the achievements of the last century as well as on the direction of international law at the threshold of the new millennium, for both practitioners and students.
Author: Frits Kalshoven
Belligerent Reprisals examines the historical developments in the law and practice relating to recourse to belligerent reprisals, as a (primitive) means of law enforcement in the hands of a party to an armed conflict, victim of a violation of the law of war at the hands of its enemy. As a legal concept, the notion means that the victim in turn violates a rule of the same body of the law of war, with the purpose of thus inducing the enemy to terminate its unlawful conduct. However, the enemy may in its turn denounce the so-called reprisal as an unlawful act of war and retaliate against it, thus setting in motion the ill-famed spiral of negative reciprocity.
While early lawmakers refrained from taking up the issue, prohibitions of reprisals could be achieved in conventions adopted in 1929 and 1949 on the protection of the power of the enemy. In contrast, reprisals (or retaliatory conduct announced under that title without meeting the requisite conditions) were common practice in the conduct of hostilities, with civilians in non-occupied territory as the main victims. With major governments disinclined to give up this tool, the ban on reprisals against civilian populations ultimately accepted in the Protocols of 1977 Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 could only be hard-fought, and it remains contested to this day.
First published in 1971, Belligerent Reprisals has become a classic work on this complex topic.
The analysis of lawmaking and state practice it contains is as valid today as it was in the late 1970’s, and elucidates the dilemmas inherent in the notion of belligerent reprisal, as a means of law enforcement that can go terribly wrong.
Author: Frits Kalshoven
The papers collected in this volume span a 35-year period of active involvement in the ‘reaffirmation and development of international humanitarian law’. A process under that name started in 1971 and ended in 1977 with the adoption of two Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, one for international and one for internal armed conflicts. Subsequent developments brought a narrowing of this gap between international and internal armed conflicts, as well as growing recognition of the interplay between the law of armed conflict and human rights, the rediscovery of individual criminal liability for violations of international humanitarian law, the introduction of further prohibitions or restrictions on the use of specified weapons, and so on.
In contrast with these positive developments, the period was negatively characterised by increasing disrespect, not only for some or other minor rule (such as what to do with cash taken from a prisoner of war at the time of his capture) but for the very principles underlying the entire body of the law of armed conflict: respect for the other as a human being and, hence, humane treatment of prisoners of war and other detainees, protection of civilians…
Throughout the period, the author’s activities ranged from participation in lawmaking and law interpreting exercises, through attempts at explaining the law of armed conflict in its historical context and making propaganda for its faithful implementation, to critical or even bewildered observance of actual events. The papers brought together here reflect these diverse angles.
Editor: Frits Kalshoven
Author: Frits Kalshoven