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Military or belligerent occupation (hereon after referred to as simply occupation) is effective provisional control by a certain ruling power over a territory, which is not under the formal sovereignty of that entity, without the violation of the actual sovereign.The territory is then known as the occupied territory and the ruling power the occupant. Occupation is distinguished from annexation by its intended temporary nature (i.e. no claim for permanent sovereignty), by its military nature, and by citizenship rights of the controlling power not being conferred upon the subjugated population.
A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a state. In most countries, a territory is an organized land controlled division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally developed into, or incorporated into, a political unit of the country that is of equal status to other political units that may often be referred to by words such as "provinces" or "states". In international politics, a territory is usually a non-sovereign geographic area which has come under the authority of another government; which has not been granted the powers of self-government normally devolved to secondary territorial divisions; or both.
Annexation is the administrative action and concept in international law relating to the forcible acquisition of one state's territory by another state and is generally held to be an illegal act. It is distinct from conquest, which refers to the acquisition of control over a territory involving a change of sovereignty, and differs from cession, in which territory is given or sold through treaty, since annexation is a unilateral act where territory is seized and held by one state. It usually follows military occupation of a territory.
While an occupant may setup a formal military government in the occupied territory to facilitate its administration, it is not a necessary precondition for occupation.
A military government is generally any government that is administrated by military forces, whether this government is legal or not under the laws of the jurisdiction at issue, and whether this government is formed by natives or by an occupying power. It is usually carried out by military workers.
The rules of occupation are delineated in various international agreements, primarily the Hague Convention of 1907, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as established state practice. The relevant international conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentaries, and other treaties by military scholars provide guidelines on such topics as rights and duties of the occupying power, protection of civilians, treatment of prisoners of war, coordination of relief efforts, issuance of travel documents, property rights of the populace, handling of cultural and art objects, management of refugees, and other concerns which are very important both before and after the cessation of hostilities. A country that establishes an occupation and violates internationally agreed upon norms runs the risk of censure, criticism, or condemnation. In the current era, the practices of occupations have largely become a part of customary international law, and form a part of the laws of war.
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term Geneva Convention usually denotes the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of the Second World War (1939–45), which updated the terms of the two 1929 treaties, and added two new conventions. The Geneva Conventions extensively defined the basic rights of wartime prisoners, established protections for the wounded and sick, and established protections for the civilians in and around a war-zone. The treaties of 1949 were ratified, in whole or with reservations, by 196 countries. Moreover, the Geneva Convention also defines the rights and protections afforded to non-combatants, yet, because the Geneva Conventions are about people in war, the articles do not address warfare proper—the use of weapons of war—which is the subject of the Hague Conventions, and the bio-chemical warfare Geneva Protocol.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, and a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate. State parties (signatories) to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 have given the ICRC a mandate to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts. Such victims include war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants.
In general, a civilian is "a person who is not a member of the military or of a police or firefighting force". The definition distinguishes from persons whose duties involves risking their lives to protect the public at large from hazardous situations such as terrorism, riots, conflagrations, or wars. "Criminals" are also excluded from the category.
From the second half of the 18th century onwards, international law has come to distinguish between the occupation of a country and territorial acquisition by invasion and annexation, [ citation needed ]the difference between the two being originally expounded upon by Emerich de Vattel in The Law of Nations (1758). The clear distinction has been recognized among the principles of international law since the end of the Napoleonic wars in the 19th century. These customary laws of occupation which evolved as part of the laws of war gave some protection to the population under the occupation of a belligerent power.
An invasion is a military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory owned by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering; liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory; forcing the partition of a country; altering the established government or gaining concessions from said government; or a combination thereof. An invasion can be the cause of a war, be a part of a larger strategy to end a war, or it can constitute an entire war in itself. Due to the large scale of the operations associated with invasions, they are usually strategic in planning and execution.
The Hague Convention of 1907 codified these customary laws, specifically within "Laws and Customs of War on Land" (Hague IV); October 18, 1907: "Section III Military Authority over the territory of the hostile State".The first two articles of that section state:
In 1949 these laws governing occupation of an enemy state's territory were further extended by the adoption of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV). Much of GCIV is relevant to protected persons in occupied territories and Section III: Occupied territories is a specific section covering the issue.
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949. While the first three conventions dealt with combatants, the Fourth Geneva Convention was the first to deal with humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone. There are currently 196 countries party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including this and the other three treaties.
Article 6 restricts the length of time that most of GCIV applies:
GCIV emphasised an important change in international law. The United Nations Charter (June 26, 1945) had prohibited war of aggression (See articles 1.1, 2.3, 2.4) and GCIV Article 47, the first paragraph in Section III: Occupied territories, restricted the territorial gains which could be made through war by stating:
Article 49 prohibits the forced mass movement of people out of or into occupied state's territory:
Protocol I (1977): "Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts" has additional articles which cover occupation but many countries including the U.S. are not signatory to this additional protocol.
In the situation of a territorial cession as the result of war, the specification of a "receiving country" in the peace treaty merely means that the country in question is authorized by the international community to establish civil government in the territory. The military government of the principal occupying power will continue past the point in time when the peace treaty comes into force, until it is legally supplanted.
"Military government continues until legally supplanted" is the rule, as stated in Military Government and Martial Law, by William E. Birkhimer, 3rd edition 1914.
Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare specifies that a "[t]erritory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army." The form of administration by which an occupying power exercises government authority over occupied territory is called military government. Neither the Hague Conventions nor the Geneva Conventions specifically define or distinguish an act of "invasion". Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions expanded on this to include situations in which no armed resistance is encountered.
There does not have to be a formal announcement of the beginning of a military government, nor is there any requirement of a specific number of people to be in place, for an occupation to commence. Birkhimer writes:
No proclamation of part of the victorious commander is necessary to the lawful inauguration and enforcement of military government. That government results from the fact that the former sovereignty is ousted, and the opposing army now has control. Yet the issuing such proclamation is useful as publishing to all living in the district occupied those rules of conduct which will govern the conqueror in the exercise of his authority. Wellington, indeed, as previously mentioned, said that the commander is bound to lay down distinctly the rules according to which his will is to be carried out. But the laws of war do not imperatively require this, and in very many instances it is not done. When it is not, the mere fact that the country is militarily occupied by the enemy is deemed sufficient notification to all concerned that the regular has been supplanted by a military government. (pp. 25-26)
The terminology of "the occupying power" as spoken of in the laws of war is most properly rendered as "the principal occupying power", or alternatively as "the occupying power". This is because the law of agency is always available (When the administrative authority for the occupation of particular areas is delegated to other troops, a "principal -- agent" relationship is in effect).
Because the law of agency is a very general pattern, primarily applicable in this case as the means of regulating the relationships between the said "powers", but a question however in which considerations of logistics are sometimes to be taken in consideration, that definition is not always applicable outside of those contexts which can be analysed by analogy as related to warlording, even though it does relate more generally to all possible types of military coalitions.
In most contexts determined by the application of the defined and modern laws of war, delegation to agencies generally tends to relating to civilian organizations. Juridical considerations like the above remain in the other cases merely consensual between the said powers. For example, in 1948 the U.S. Military Tribunal in Nuremberg states:
In belligerent occupation the occupying power does not hold enemy territory by virtue of any legal right. On the contrary, it merely exercises a precarious and temporary actual control. This can be seen from Article 42 of the Hague Regulations which grants certain well limited rights to a military occupant only in enemy territory which is 'actually placed' under his control.
The conqueror is the principal occupying power.
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (August 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Rule: Occupation continues until legally supplanted. According to Eyal Benvenisti, occupation can end in a number of ways, such as: "loss of effective control, namely when the occupant is no longer capable of exercising its authority; through the genuine consent of the sovereign (the ousted government or an indigenous one) by the signing of a peace agreement; or by transferring authority to an indigenous government endorsed by the occupied population through referendum and which has received international recognition".
This is explained as follows. For the situation where no territorial cession is involved, the occupation ends with the coming into force of the peace settlement.
In the situation of a territorial cession, there must be a formal peace treaty. However, the occupation does not end with the coming into force of the peace treaty.
Hence, at the most basic level, the terminology of "legally supplanted" is interpreted to mean "legally supplanted by a civil government fully recognized by the national (or "federal") government of the principal occupying power".
In most wars some territory is placed under the authority of the hostile army. Most occupations end with the cessation of hostilities. In some cases the occupied territory is returned and in others the land remains under the control of the occupying power but usually not as militarily occupied territory. Sometimes the status of presences is disputed by a party to the situation. The largest extending territories under military occupation came into existence as the outcome of World War I and World War II:
Occupation is usually a temporary phase, preceding either the handing back of the territory, or its annexation. A significant number of post-1945 occupations have lasted more than two decades such as the occupations of Namibia by South Africa and of East Timor by Indonesia as well as the ongoing occupations of Northern Cyprus by Turkey and of Western Sahara by Morocco.The world's longest ongoing occupation, and the longest in modern times by one single occupying power, is Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (1967–present). Other prolonging belligerent occupations that have been alleged include the occupation by the United Kingdom of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas (1833-present) which Argentina claims this as sovereign territory, of Tibet by China (1950-present), and of the Kingdom of Hawaii by the United States (1893-present). The War Report makes no determination as to whether belligerent occupation is occurring in these cases.
The cases of occupation, which took place in the second half of the 20th century are:
The most recent cases of occupation, which took place in the 21st century are the:
Israeli settlements are civilian communities inhabited by Israeli citizens, almost exclusively of Jewish ethnicity, built predominantly on lands within the Palestinian territories, which Israel has militarily occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War, and partly on lands considered Syrian territory also militarily occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. Such settlements within Palestinian territories currently exist in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and within Syrian territory in the Golan Heights.
The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore. The West Bank was the name given to the territory that was captured by Jordan in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and subsequently annexed in 1950 until 1967 when it was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Palestinian territories has been used for many years to describe the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. More recently, the official United Nations terminology has been used, occupied Palestinian territory increasingly replacing other terms since 1999. The European Union also has adopted this usage The International Court of Justice refers to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as "the Occupied Palestinian Territory" and this term is used as the legal definition by the International Court of Justice in the ruling in July 2004. The term occupied Palestinian territories is also still in common use.
Unlawful combatant, illegal combatant, unprivileged combatant/belligerent or enemy combatant are informal terms used to refer to a person who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of the laws of war or is fighting outside of internationally recognized military forces. An unlawful combatant may be detained or prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action. The International Committee of the Red Cross points out that the terms are not defined in any international agreements.
Combatant is the legal status of an individual who has the right to engage in hostilities during an international armed conflict. The legal definition of "combatant" is found at article 43 of Additional Protocol One to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 [AP1]. It states that "Members of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict are combatants, that is to say, they have the right to participate directly in hostilities."
Judea and Samaria Area is the Israeli government term for the administrative division encompassing Israeli-occupied West Bank excluding East Jerusalem. It is for some purposes regarded by Israeli authorities as one of its administrative regions, although the international community considers the West Bank to be a territory held by Israel under military occupation.
United Nations Security Council resolution 446, adopted on 22 March 1979, concerned the issue of Israeli settlements in the "Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem". This refers to the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip as well as the Syrian Golan Heights.
Stress and duress is a term which has been used by the United States to describe interrogation techniques authorized for use by the United States Armed Forces upon detainees who are determined to be a threat to the United States during the War on Terrorism. These techniques are claimed to cause "inhuman and degrading treatment" but which the George W. Bush administration claims do not cause "suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture".
The International law bearing on issues of Arab–Israeli conflict, which became a major arena of regional and international tension since the birth of Israel in 1948, resulting in several disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel.
The Israeli-occupied territories refers to the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 and sometimes also to areas of Southern Lebanon, where Israeli military was notably present to support local Lebanese militias during the civil war and after it. Originally, those territories included the Syrian Golan Heights, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip and Jordanian-annexed West Bank. The first use of the term 'territories occupied' was in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War in 1967, which called for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" to be achieved by "the application of both the following principles: ... Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict ... Termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. In addition to the territories occupied following the Six-Day War, Israel also occupied portions of Southern Lebanon following the 1982 Lebanon War, and maintained a military presence there until withdrawing in 2000.
The status of territories captured by Israel refers to the status of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula, captured by Israel on the course of the 1967 Six-Day War.
The legal status of Hawaii—as opposed to its political status—is a settled legal matter as it pertains to United States law, but there has been scholarly and legal debate. While Hawaii is internationally recognized as a state of the United States of America while also being broadly accepted as such in mainstream understanding, there have been essays written denying the legality of this status. The argument is that Hawaii is an independent nation under military occupation. The legality of control of Hawaii by the United States has also been raised in the losing side in cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in U.S. District Court.
The Geneva Convention (1929) was signed at Geneva, July 27, 1929. Its official name is the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva July 27, 1929. It entered into force 19 June 1931. It is this version of the Geneva Conventions which covered the treatment of prisoners of war during World War II. It is the predecessor of the Third Geneva Convention signed in 1949.
The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law, violating Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 which states: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." Israel maintains that it is not in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention since, in its view, Israeli citizens were neither deported nor transferred to the territories, and they cannot be considered to have become "occupied territory" since there had been no internationally recognized legal sovereign prior. The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention does apply.
Area C is an administrative division of the West Bank, set out in the Oslo II Accord. Area C constitutes about 61 percent of the West Bank territory. The Palestinian Authority is responsible for medical and educational services to Palestinians in Area C, however infrastructure construction is done by Israel. Area C, excluding East Jerusalem, is home to 385,900 Israeli settlers and approximately 300,000 Palestinians. The Jewish population in Area C is administered by the Israeli Judea and Samaria Area administration, whereas the Palestinian population is directly administered by the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and indirectly by the Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah.
There are a wide variety of views regarding the legal status of the State of Palestine, both among the states of the international community and among legal scholars, but there is a general consensus that the State of Palestine is de jure sovereign. As of 2018, Palestine is recognized by most states but is only an observer of the UN instead of a full member and roughly a third of the world's countries don't recognize it.
The significance of the temporary nature of military occupation is that it brings about no change of allegiance. Military government remains an alien government whether of short or long duration, though prolonged occupation may encourage the occupying power to change military occupation into something else, namely annexation
The conditions that define when occupation begins also identify when it ends. Obviously, occupation can end in a number of ways: with the loss of effective control, namely when the occupant is no longer capable of exercising its authority; through the genuine consent of the sovereign (the ousted government or an indigenous one) by the signing of a peace agreement; or by transferring authority to an indigenous government endorsed by the occupied population through referendum and which has received international recognition.
Although the basic philosophy behind the law of military occupation is that it is a temporary situation modem occupations have well demonstrated that rien ne dure comme le provisoire A significant number of post-1945 occupations have lasted more than two decades such as the occupations of Namibia by South Africa and of East Timor by Indonesia as well as the ongoing occupations of Northern Cyprus by Turkey and of Western Sahara by Morocco. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, which is the longest in all occupation's history has already entered its fifth decade.
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the longest military occupation in modern times.
...longest official military occupation of modern history—currently entering its thirty-fifth year
...longest-lasting military occupation of the modern age
This is probably the longest occupation in modern international relations, and it holds a central place in all literature on the law of belligerent occupation since the early 1970s
These are settlements and a military occupation that is the longest in the twentieth and twenty-first century, the longest formerly being the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. So this is thirty-three years old, pushing the record.
Israel is the only modern state that has held territories under military occupation for over four decades
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