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29 Brit. Y.B. Int'l L. 360 (1952)
The Problem of the Revision of the Law of War

handle is hein.journals/byrint29 and id is 366 raw text is: THE PROBLEM OF THE REVISION OF THE
LAW OF WAR'
By H. LAUTERPACHT, Q.C., LL.D., F.B.A.
I Ilhewell Professor of International Law in the University of Cambridge
ON 2o April 1949 the International Law Commission decided, for various
reasons,' not to include the law of war in the list of topics which it selected
for study in pursuance of its tasks of codifying and developing inter-
national law. Yet it is significant that on 21 April-the very next day-
there opened at Geneva a Conference of sixty-one states which on 12
August adopted four Conventions3 revising, developing, and codifying a
very substantial part of the law of war-a historic and in many ways almost
a revolutionary piece of international legislation transcending in some
respects the achievements of the two Hague Conferences. One of these
Conventions deals with the relief of wounded and sick in armies in the
field. Another is devoted to the amelioration of the condition of wounded,
sick, and shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea. The third is an
imposing codification of the law relating to the treatment of prisoners of
var. While these three Conventions merely revise and expand-though
on a very considerable scale-treaties already in existence, the fourth Con-
vention, namely, that for the Protection of Civilians in Time of War,
covers in many respects entirely new ground not touched by the Hague
Conventions. Thus, for instance, although the Regulations attached to
Hague Convention No. IV respecting the laws and customs of war on land
protected the civilian population in occupied territory, they did so, in
Articles 42-56, in somewhat general outline. They did not concern them-
selves directly with the position of civilian enemy nationals in belligerent
territory.4 The Geneva Protection of Civilians Convention of I949-which
' The present article is based substantially on a lecture delivered in December 1952 in the
Faculty of Laws of the University of Paris.
I Thus Professor Scelle expressed the view, on that occasion, that as the Charter of the United
Nations had outlawed war there could no longer be any question of a law of war-although, in
his opinion, there was room for regulation of hostilities waged by an international police force.
The member from Soviet Russia urged that the Commission should categorically refuse to dis-
cuss war; that it should not even contemplatc the possibility of a third world war; and that it
should not transform itself into a legal general staff which would pursue its activities in concert
with the general staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Doc. A/CN. 4/SR. 6, pp. 12,
14, respectively.
3 Misc. No. 4 (1950) Cmd. 8033; United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 75.
4 It was contended by some governments and writers that Article 23 (h) of the Hague Regula-
tions, which forbade a belligerent 'to declare abolished, suspended, or inadmissible in a court of
law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party', applied also to the territories of
the belligerents as distinguished from the territories occupied by them. This contention was
probably inaccurate. See Oppenheim, International Law, vol. i (7th ed., I948), § 554 (1 0).

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