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A neutral country is a state which is neutral towards belligerents in a specific war, or holds itself as permanently neutral in all future conflicts (including avoiding entering into military alliances such as NATO). As a type of non-combatant status, neutral nationals enjoy protection under the law of war from belligerent actions, to a greater extent than other non-combatants such as enemy civilians and prisoners of war.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

A belligerent is an individual, group, country, or other entity that acts in a hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. Belligerent comes from Latin, literally meaning "one who wages war". Unlike the use of belligerent as an adjective to mean aggressive, its use as a noun does not necessarily imply that a belligerent country is an aggressor.

War Organised and prolonged violent conflict between states

War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.

Contents

Different countries interpret their neutrality differently. [1] Some, such as Costa Rica, have demilitarized; whereas Switzerland holds to "armed neutrality" in which it deters aggression with a sizeable military while barring itself from foreign deployment. Not all neutral countries avoid any foreign deployment or alliances, however, as Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden have active UN peacekeeping forces and a political alliance within the European Union. The traditional Swedish policy is not to participate in military alliances, with the intention of staying neutral in the case of war. Immediately before World War II, the Nordic countries stated their neutrality, but Sweden changed its position to that of non-belligerent at the start of the Winter War. There have been considerable barks to the interpretation of neutral conduct over the past centuries. [2]

Costa Rica Country in Central America

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a sovereign state in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising nine federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly nine million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is landlocked and highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

Terminology

A country's foreign policy, also called foreign relations or foreign affairs policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve goals within its international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries. The study of such strategies is called foreign policy analysis. In recent times, due to the deepening level of globalization and transnational activities, the states will also have to interact with non-state actors. The aforementioned interaction is evaluated and monitored in attempts to maximize the benefits of multilateral international cooperation. Since the national interests are paramount, foreign policies are designed by the government through high-level decision-making processes. National interests accomplishment can occur as a result of peaceful cooperation with other nations, or through exploitation. Usually, creating foreign policy is the job of the head of government and the foreign minister. In some countries, the legislature also has considerable effects. Foreign policies of countries have varying rates of change and scopes of intent, which can be affected by factors that change the perceived national interests or even affect the stability of the country itself. The foreign policy of a country can have a profound and lasting impact on many other countries and on the course of international relations as a whole, such as the Monroe Doctrine conflicting with the mercantilism policies of 19th-century European countries and the goals of independence of newly formed Central American and South American countries.

A non-belligerent is a person, a state, or other organization that does not fight in a given conflict. The term is often used to describe a country that does not take part militarily in a war. The status does not exist in international law.

Rights and responsibilities of a neutral power

Belligerents may not invade neutral territory, [6] and a neutral power's resisting any such attempt does not compromise its neutrality. [7]

A neutral power must intern belligerent troops who reach its territory, [8] but not escaped prisoners of war. [9] Belligerent armies may not recruit neutral citizens, [10] but they may go abroad to enlist. [11] Belligerent armies' personnel and material may not be transported across neutral territory, [12] but the wounded may be. [13] A neutral power may supply communication facilities to belligerents, [14] but not war material, [15] although it need not prevent export of such material. [16]

Internment imprisonment or confinement of groups of people without trial

Internment is the imprisonment of people, commonly in large groups, without charges or intent to file charges, and thus no trial. The term is especially used for the confinement "of enemy citizens in wartime or of terrorism suspects". Thus, while it can simply mean imprisonment, it tends to refer to preventive confinement, rather than confinement after having been convicted of some crime. Use of these terms is subject to debate and political sensitivities.

Prisoner of war Person who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether a combatant or a non-combatant, who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1660.

Belligerent naval vessels may use neutral ports for a maximum of 24 hours, though neutrals may impose different restrictions. [17] Exceptions are to make repairs—only the minimum necessary to put back to sea [18] —or if an opposing belligerent's vessel is already in port, in which case it must have a 24-hour head start. [19] A prize ship captured by a belligerent in the territorial waters of a neutral power must be surrendered by the belligerent to the neutral, which must intern its crew. [20]

Prize (law) term used in admiralty law

Prize is a term used in admiralty law to refer to equipment, vehicles, vessels, and cargo captured during armed conflict. The most common use of prize in this sense is the capture of an enemy ship and her cargo as a prize of war. In the past, the capturing force would commonly be allotted a share of the worth of the captured prize. Nations often granted letters of marque that would entitle private parties to capture enemy property, usually ships. Once the ship was secured on friendly territory, she would be made the subject of a prize case, an in rem proceeding in which the court determined the status of the condemned property and the manner in which the property was to be disposed of.

Territorial waters Coastal waters that are part of a nation-states sovereign territory

The term territorial waters is sometimes used informally to refer to any area of water over which a state has jurisdiction, including internal waters, the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and potentially the continental shelf. In a narrower sense, the term is used as a synonym for the territorial sea.

Recognition and codification

Neutrality has been recognised in different ways, and sometimes involves a formal guarantor. For example, Austria has its neutrality guaranteed by its four former occupying powers, Switzerland by the signatories of the Congress of Vienna and Finland by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The form of recognition varies, often by bilateral treaty (Finland), multilateral treaty (Austria) or a UN declaration (Turkmenistan). These treaties can in some ways be forced on a country (Austria's neutrality was insisted upon by the Soviet Union) but in other cases it is an active policy of the country concerned to respond to a geopolitical situation (Ireland in the Second World War). [21]

For the country concerned, the policy is usually codified beyond the treaty itself. Austria and Japan codify their neutrality in their constitutions, but they do so with different levels of detail. Some details of neutrality are left to be interpreted by the government while others are explicitly stated, for example Austria may not host any foreign bases and Japan cannot participate in foreign wars. Yet Sweden, lacking formal codification, was more flexible during the Second World War in allowing troops to pass through its territory. [21]

Armed neutrality

Switzerland is a key example of a country outside of any military alliance, but maintaining a strong deterrent force Schweizer Armee Fus Gr.jpg
Switzerland is a key example of a country outside of any military alliance, but maintaining a strong deterrent force

Armed neutrality is the posture of a state or group of states that has no alliance with either side in a war, but asserts that it will defend itself against resulting incursions from any party. [22] This may include:

The term derives from the historic maritime neutrality of the League of Armed Neutrality that the Nordic countries and Russia under the leadership of Katherine the Great invented in the late 18th Century, but has since been used only to refer to country neutralities. [26] Sweden and Switzerland are, independent of each other, famed for their armed neutralities, which they maintained throughout both World War I and World War II. [27] The Swiss and the Swedes each have a long history of neutrality: they have not been in a state of war internationally since 1815 and 1814, respectively. They pursue, however, active foreign policies and are frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. [28] According to Edwin Reischauer, "To be neutral you must be ready to be highly militarized, like Switzerland or Sweden." [29]

In contrast, other neutral states may abandon military power (examples of states doing this include Costa Rica and Liechtenstein) or reduce it, but rather uses it for the express purpose of home defence and the maintenance of its neutrality. But the lack of a military does not result in neutrality as countries such as Iceland replaced a standing military with a military guarantee from a stronger power.

Leagues of Armed Neutrality

Peacekeeping

Irish units on UN patrol in the Golan Heights, Syria. Best 15 (11419866795).jpg
Irish units on UN patrol in the Golan Heights, Syria.

For many states, such as Ireland and Sweden, neutrality does not mean the absence of any foreign interventionism. Peacekeeping missions for the United Nations are seen as intertwined with it. [35] The Swiss electorate rejected a 1994 proposal to join UN peacekeeping operations. Despite this, 23 Swiss observers and police have been deployed around the world in UN projects. [36]

Points of debate

The legitimacy of whether some states are as neutral as they claim has been questioned in some circles, although this depends largely on a state's interpretation of its form of neutrality.

European Union

There are five members of the European Union that still describe themselves as a neutral country in some form: Austria, Ireland, Finland, Malta and Sweden. With the development of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy, the extent to which they are, or should be, neutral is debated. For example, former Finnish Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen, on 5 July 2006, stated that Finland was no longer neutral:

Mr Pflüger described Finland as neutral. I must correct him on that: Finland is a member of the EU. We were at one time a politically neutral country, during the time of the Iron Curtain. Now we are a member of the Union, part of this community of values, which has a common policy and, moreover, a common foreign policy. [37]

However, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on 5 December 2017 still described the country as "militarily non-aligned" and that it should remain so. [38] Ireland, which sought guarantees for its neutrality in EU treaties, argues that its neutrality does not mean that Ireland should avoid engagement in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. [39]

Since the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty, EU members are bound by TEU, Article 42.7, which obliges states to assist a fellow member that is the victim of armed aggression. It accords "an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in [other member states'] power" but would "not prejudice the specific character of the security and defense policy of certain Member States" (neutral policies), allowing members to respond with non-military aid.

With the launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defense at the end of 2017, the EU's activity on military matters has increased. The policy was designed to be inclusive and allows states to opt in or out of specific forms of military cooperation. That has allowed most of the neutral states to participate, but opinions still vary. Some members of the Irish Parliament considered Ireland's joining PESCO as an abandonment of neutrality. It was passed with the government arguing that its opt-in nature allowed Ireland to "join elements of PESCO that were beneficial such as counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and peacekeeping... what we are not going to be doing is buying aircraft carriers and fighter jets". Malta, as of December 2017, is the only neutral state not to participate in PESCO. The Maltese government argued that it was going to wait and see how PESCO develops to see whether it would compromise Maltese neutrality. [40]

Moldova

The neutrality of Moldova is an interesting case. According to Ion Marandici, Moldova has chosen neutrality in order to avoid Russian security schemes and Russian military presence on its territory. [41] Even if the country is constitutionally neutral, some researchers argue that de facto this former Soviet republic never was neutral, because parts of the Russian 14th army are present at Bendery. [41] The same author suggests that one solution in order to avoid unnecessary contradictions and deepen at the same time the relations with NATO would be "to interpret the concept of permanent neutrality in a flexible manner". [41] Neutrality is a constant topic in Moldovan domestic politics. [42]

Neutrality during World War II

"Neutrality is a negative word. It does not express what America ought to feel. We are not trying to keep out of trouble; we are trying to preserve the foundations on which peace may be rebuilt.”
Woodrow Wilson

Many countries made neutrality declarations during World War II. However, of the European states closest to the war, only Andorra, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (with Liechtenstein), and Vatican (the Holy See) remained neutral to the end.

Their fulfillment to the letter of the rules of neutrality has been questioned: Ireland supplied important secret information to the Allies; for instance, the date of D-Day was decided on the basis of incoming Atlantic weather information, some of it supplied by Ireland but kept from Germany. Both Axis and Allied pilots who crash landed in Ireland were interned. [43]

Sweden and Switzerland, surrounded by possessions and allies of Nazi Germany similarly made concessions to Nazi requests as well as to Allied requests. [44] Sweden was also involved in intelligence operations with the Allies, including listening stations in Sweden and espionage in Germany. Spain offered to join the war on the side of Nazi Germany in 1940, allowed Axis ships and submarines to use its ports, imported war materials for Germany, and sent a Spanish volunteer combat division to aid the Nazi war effort. Portugal officially stayed neutral, but actively supported both the Allies by providing overseas naval bases, and Germany by selling tungsten.

The United States was initially neutral and bound by the Neutrality Acts of 1936 not to sell war materials to belligerents. Once war broke out, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt persuaded Congress to replace the act with the Cash and carry program that allowed the US to provide military aid to the allies, despite opposition from isolationist members. [45] The "Cash and carry" program was replaced in March 1941 by Lend-Lease, effectively ending the US pretense of neutrality.

Sweden also made concessions to the German Reich during the war to maintain its neutrality, the biggest concession was to let the 163rd German Infantry Division to be transferred from Norway to Finland by Swedish trains, to aid the Finns in the Continuation War. The decision caused a political "Midsummer Crisis" of 1941, about Sweden's neutrality.

Equally, Vatican City made various diplomatic concessions to the Axis and Allied powers alike, while still keeping to the rules of the law of neutrality. The Holy See has been criticized—but largely exonerated later—for its silence on moral issues of the war. [46]

List of neutral countries

Note: Some countries may occasionally claim to be "neutral" but not comply with the internationally agreed upon definition of neutrality as listed above.

StatePeriod(s) of neutralityNotes
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 1920–1938 (after World War I to annexation by Germany)
1955–present (Declaration of Neutrality)
Flag of Costa Rica.svg  Costa Rica 1949–present
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 1935–1939 (to Winter War)
1956–present (from return of Porkkala rental area)
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 2012–present
Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 1939–present [51]
  • Established a policy of neutrality during World War II, known as the Emergency in Ireland. [21]
    • Despite this policy, Ireland made concessions to the Allies by secretly sharing intelligence and weather reports as well as by repatriating downed RAF airmen. [52] [53]
    • It was believed that Ireland would take the German side if Britain attempted to invade Ireland, but would take the British side if invaded by Germany.
    • After the war, it was discovered that Germany had drawn up plans to invade Ireland in order to use the country for launching attacks into Britain, known as Operation Green.
    • Conversely, had Ireland been invaded, the UK had drawn up secret plans to invade Ireland in collaboration with the Irish Government to push Germany back out, known as Plan W. [54]
  • Ireland was invited to join NATO but did not wish to be in an alliance that included Britain. [21]
  • An EU Member since 1973: military non-aligned, see points of debate § European Union.
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 1947–present
Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein 1868–present
  • Neutral because the military was dissolved in 1868. [55] [56]
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 1980–present
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 1930–present
  • With the exception of its participation on the side of the Allies in World War II.
  • Opened its borders in the 20th century to political refugees fleeing the military dictatorships of South America and Spain.
  • Since 2000, Mexico ignored the neutrality policy under foreign secretaries Jorge G. Castañeda and Luis Ernesto Derbez. Whether historical neutrality is to be kept is now internally debated. The Mexican formulation of neutrality is known as Estrada doctrine. [58]
Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia 1914–1918
2015–present
  • During World War I Mongolia was neutral, but became a belligerent country of World War II. In September 2015, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in the 70th UN General Assembly speech suddenly announced that Mongolia will implement the "policy of permanent neutrality," and called on the international community to recognise Mongolian neutrality. [59]
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova 1994–present
Flag of Panama.svg  Panama 1989–present
Flag of Rwanda.svg  Rwanda 2009–present
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 2007–present
  • The National Assembly of Serbia declared armed neutrality in 2007. [63]
    Serbia is the only state in the former Yugoslavia that is not seeking NATO membership. The key narrative that has been used to justify the policy is the trauma of NATO intervention in 1999 and the ensuing secession of Kosovo* [64] , but also close relationship with the Russian Federation. [65]
Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 1965–present
  • Expelled from the Federation of Malaysia, gaining independence in 1965.
  • A founding member of ASEAN alongside its south-east Asian neighbours.
  • Has not been involved in any war since independence except had an incident in 1975 when a South Vietnamese pilot flew his family out of South Vietnam as war refugees in a stolen plane (C-130a owned by the Smithsonian Air & Space) from the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese communists were taking over the South.
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1814–1918 (to Finnish Civil War)
1918–present
  • First nation in the world to declare neutrality in 1814.
  • Sweden has not been part of a war since 1814. This makes Sweden the nation which has had the longest period of peace.
    • Has adapted policy to protect its interests. In Second World War it allowed German forces through its territory to assist the Finns when attacked by the Soviet Red Army, while also protecting refugees from the Nazis. [21] *An EU Member since 1995: military non-aligned, see points of debate § European Union.
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 1815–present
  • Self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security.
  • The 1815 Congress of Vienna re-established Switzerland and its permanent neutrality was guaranteed by Britain, France, Prussia, Russia and others. [21]
  • Swiss neutrality was so rigorously defended that the country refused to even join the United Nations until 2002. [66]
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan 1995–present
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan 2012–present
  • In 2012, the law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On approval of the Concept of foreign policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan" was adopted [68]
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Flag of the Vatican City.svg   Vatican City 1929–present
  • The Lateran Treaty signed in 1929 with Italy imposed that "The Pope was pledged to perpetual neutrality in international relations and to abstention from mediation in a controversy unless specifically requested by all parties" thus making Vatican City neutral since then.

List of formerly neutral countries

StatePeriod(s) of neutralityNotes
Flag of Afghanistan (1901-1919).svg Flag of Afghanistan (1931-1973).svg Afghanistan 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1939–1945 (neutral during World War II)
Flag of Albania.svg  Albania 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1968 (attempted neutrality during the Prague Spring)
  • A NATO member since 2009.
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 1839–1914 (to World War I)
1936–1940 (to World War II)
Flag of Bhutan.svg  Bhutan 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1939–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • In accordance with the Treaty of Punakha in 1910, Bhutan during World War II to deal with foreign relations powers to Britain, Bhutan became the de facto wartime neutral country.
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Flag of Cambodia.svg  Cambodia 1955–1970 (to Vietnam War)
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 1864–1940 (after Second Schleswig War to World War II)
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 1938–1939 (to World War II)
Flag of Ethiopia (1897-1936; 1941-1974).svg Ethiopia 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
Flag of the Hungarian Revolution (1956; 1-2 aspect ratio).svg Hungary 1956 (attempted neutrality during the Hungarian Revolution)
Flag of Persia (1910-1925).svg  Persia, now Iran 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg Italy 1914–1915 (to World War I)
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • EU member since 1957.
Flag of Laos (1952-1975).svg Laos 1955–1975 (ostensibly neutral throughout the Vietnam War)
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 1938–1939 (to World War II)
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania 1939 (to World War II)
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg 1839–1914 (to World War I)
1920–1940 (to World War II)
  • Neutral stance since 1839, abolished through its constitution in 1948.
  • A NATO member since 1949
  • EU member since 1957
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 1839–1940 (to World War II)
  • Self-imposed neutrality between 1839 and 1940 on the European continent.
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • EU member since 1957
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 1814–1940 (to World War II) :Related article: The Neutral Ally
  • A NATO member since 1949.
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1932–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • EU member since 1986
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1940–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • While neutral throughout World War I and World War II, Spain did lean towards the Axis, as evidenced by the Blue Division.
  • A NATO member since 1982.
  • EU member since 1986
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 1940–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • A NATO member since 1952.
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1914–1917 (to World War I)
1939–1941 (to World War II)
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 1990–2014 (to Ukrainian crisis)
  • Ukraine's parliament voted to drop non-aligned status on December 23, 2014. [69]
    In its Declaration of Sovereignty (1990), Ukraine declared it had the "intention of becoming a permanently neutral state that does not participate in military blocs and adheres to three nuclear free principles" (art. 9). Neutrality was then enshrined in the 1996 Ukrainian Constitution, based upon the Declaration of Independence of August 24, 1991, containing the basic principles of non-coalition and future neutrality. [70] Such policy of state non-alignment was re-confirmed by law in 2010. [71]
Flag of Yugoslavia (1918-1943).svg  Kingdom of Yugoslavia 1940–1941 (to World War II)
  • Although founding member of the Little Entente committed to it until its dissolution in 1938, after much German pressure Yugoslavia was forced to declare its neutrality between the Axis and Western powers. [72]
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1949–1992

See also

Related Research Articles

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Law of war International laws concerning wars

The law of war refers to the component of international law that regulates the conditions for war and the conduct of warring parties. Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territories, occupation, and other critical terms of international law.

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."

Declaration of war formal announcement by which one state goes to war against another

A declaration of war is a formal act by which one state goes to war against another. The declaration is a performative speech act by an authorized party of a national government, in order to create a state of war between two or more states.

Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 Treaties helping establish international law

The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 are a series of international treaties and declarations negotiated at two international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands. Along with the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the body of secular international law. A third conference was planned for 1914 and later rescheduled for 1915, but it did not take place due to the start of World War I.

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Ireland has been neutral in international relations since the 1930s. The nature of Irish neutrality has varied over time, and has been contested since the 1970s. Historically, the state was a "non-belligerent" in the Second World War and has never joined NATO, although during the Cold War it was anti-communist and aloof from the Non-Aligned Movement. The compatibility of neutrality with Ireland's membership of the European Union has been a point of debate in EU treaty referendum campaigns since the 1990s. The Seville Declarations on the Treaty of Nice acknowledge Ireland's "traditional policy of military neutrality", reflecting the narrow formulation of successive Irish governments. Others define Irish neutrality more broadly, as having "a strong normative focus, with a commitment to development, United Nations peacekeeping, human rights and disarmament".

Military occupation effective provisional control of a certain power over a territory

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Swedish neutrality refers to Sweden's former policy of neutrality in armed conflicts, which was in effect from the early 19th century, until 2009, when Sweden entered into various mutual defence treaties with the EU, and other Nordic countries. In 2016 Sweden became a "NATO Affiliate", and signed a treaty allowing NATO operations to take place within the country's borders. Sweden's previous neutrality policy had originated largely as a result of Sweden's involvement in the Napoleonic Wars during which over a third of the country's territory was lost, including the traumatic loss of Finland to Russia. Resentment towards the old king precipitated a coup d'état and the new regime formulated a new foreign policy which became known as The Policy of 1812. Since the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden has not initiated any direct armed conflict. However, Sweden's military and government have been involved in major peacekeeping actions and other military support functions around the world. The accession to the European Union in 1995 meant that neutrality as a principle was abolished. Sweden is still today a neutral and non-aligned country in regard to foreign and security policy. However, it maintains strong links to NATO.

International humanitarian law (IHL) is the law that regulates the conduct of war. It is a branch of international law which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not participating in hostilities, and by restricting and regulating the means and methods of warfare available to combatants.

Protecting power relationship What can happen when a sovereign state does not have diplomatic relations with another

A protecting power is a country that represents another sovereign state in a country where it lacks its own diplomatic representation. It is common for protecting powers to be appointed when two countries break off diplomatic relations with each other. The protecting power is responsible for looking after the sending state's diplomatic property and citizens in the hosting state. If diplomatic relations were broken by the outbreak of war, the protecting power will also inquire into the welfare of prisoners of war and look after the interests of civilians in enemy-occupied territory.

Neutral powers during World War II

The neutral powers were countries that remained neutral during World War II. Some of these countries had large colonies abroad or had great economic power. Spain had just been through its civil war, which ended on 1 April 1939 —a war that involved several countries that subsequently participated in World War II.

Swiss neutrality is one of the main principles of Switzerland's foreign policy which dictates that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed conflicts between other states. This policy is self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security and promote peace.

First League of Armed Neutrality alliance of European naval powers between 1780 and 1783

The first League of Armed Neutrality was an alliance of European naval powers between 1780 and 1783 which was intended to protect neutral shipping against the Royal Navy's wartime policy of unlimited search of neutral shipping for French contraband. British naval commanders followed their instructions with care, ordered away boarding parties and made seizures with impunity. Four-fifths of ships sailing, according to one estimate, made port in safety. But it was the loss of the other fifth which rankled. By September 1778, at least 59 ships were taken prize-8 Danish, 16 Swedish and 35 Dutch, not mentioning others from Prussia. Protests were enormous by every side involved.

Permanent Structured Cooperation

The Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is the part of the European Union's (EU) security and defence policy (CSDP) in which 25 of the 28 national armed forces pursue structural integration. Based on Article 42.6 and Protocol 10 of the Treaty on European Union, introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009, PESCO was first initiated in 2017. The initial integration within the PESCO format is a number of projects planned to launch in 2018.

Sweden during World War I

Sweden, following its long-standing policy of neutrality since the Napoleonic Wars, remained neutral throughout World War I between 28 July 1914 and 11 November 1918. However, this neutrality was not maintained without difficulty and Sweden at various times sympathised with different parties in the conflict.

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Bibliography