Belligerent military occupation, occurs when one nation's military garrisons occupy all or part of a foreign nation during an invasion (during or after a war).
Military occupation and the laws of war
There have long been customary laws of belligerent occupation as part of the laws of war which gave some protection to the population under the military occupation of a belligerent power. These were clarified and supplemented by the Hague Convention of 1907 Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907 (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/hague04.htm):Section III Military Authority over the territory of the hostile State (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/hague04.htm#art41). The first two articles of that section state:
- Art. 42.
- Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.
- The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.
- Art. 43.
- The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
In 1949 these laws governing belligerent occupation of enemy territory were further extended by the adoption of the Fourth Geneva Convention(4GC). Much of 4GC is relevent to protected persons in occupied territories and Section III: Occupied territories is a specific section covering the issue.
Article 6 restricts the length that most of 4GC applies:
- The present Convention shall apply from the outset of any conflict or occupation mentioned in Article 2.
- In the territory of Parties to the conflict, the application of the present Convention shall cease on the general close of military operations.
- In the case of occupied territory, the application of the present Convention shall cease one year after the general close of military operations; however, the Occupying Power shall be bound, for the duration of the occupation, to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory, by the provisions of the following Articles of the present Convention: 1 to 12, 27, 29 to 34, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 59, 61 to 77, 143.
Protocol I (1977) (http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e636b/f6c8b9fee14a77fdc125641e0052b079?OpenDocument): "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 military occupation but it should be noted that as many countries including the U.S. are not signatory to this additional protocol.
Examples of military occupations
- see also List of military occupations.
In most wars some territory is placed under the authority of the hostile army, most military 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 militaryly occupied territory.
Significant contemporary belligerent military occupations
Some presences are often referred to as military occupations, but their status as an military occupation are often disputed when not every party in the situation agrees that it is even a military occupation at all.
Disputed to be a military occupation by local population
Disputed to be a military occupation by nation of dominant military forces in area
- David Kretzmer, Occupation of Justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories, State University of New York Press, April, 2002, trade paperback, 262 pages, ISBN 0791453383; hardcover, July, 2002, ISBN 0791453375
Adapted from the Wikinfo article, "Belligerent occupation"  (http://www.wikinfo.org/wiki.php?title=Belligerent_occupation)