chapter  25
20 Pages

Occupation and territorial administration Eyal Benvenisti

The law of occupation evolved gradually during the second half of the nineteenth century through deliberations among European governments mainly during the peace conferences in Brussels (1874)2 and in The Hague (1899, 1907),3 involving weak and strong governments, as well as scholars. The principle protecting individuals and their property was derived from the earlier distinction between the combatants and non-combatants and the duty to spare the latter from the scourge of war. The obligation to respect the sovereign rights of the ousted government reflects the final stages in the crystallisation of the concept of sovereignty as a national claim for exclusive control over the nation’s territory and nationals. This two-pronged concept of occupation became part of general international law by the early twentieth century.4