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32 Brit. Y.B. Int'l L. 218 (1955-1956)
The Hague Regulations and the Seizure of Munitions de Guerre

handle is hein.journals/byrint32 and id is 226 raw text is: THE HAGUE REGULATIONS AND THE
Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
OF the fourteen Articles in the Fourth Hague Convention concerning the
Laws and Customs of War on Land which form the Chapter entitled 'Of
the Military 'Authority over the Territory of the Hostile State', no less than
eleven contain provisions dealing with the protection of property, whether
owned by private persons, municipalities or the State. Indeed, it would
appear that the Hague Regulations are as concerned to protect property
interests situate in occupied territory as they are to safeguard the person
of the inhabitants of the territory.' While the Geneva Convention Relative
to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 19492 has concen-
trated almost exclusively on the elaboration of the general principles for
the treatment of persons contained in the Hague Regulations, the emphasis
in the Hague Regulations on the preservation of property is a reflection of
the principle that regulation of the treatment of the person of the inhabi-
tants of the occupied territory without reference to the treatment of their
property would provide very inadequate protection for the entirety of
interests which requires to be safeguarded against the power of the
At the same time, in acknowledgement of the necessary requirements
of the forces of occupation, the Hague Regulations recognize certain excep-
tions to the principle that private property is immune from seizure. The
precise definition of these exceptions becomes a matter of particular im-
portance if there is any danger that their extension may prejudice the
proper application of the principal rule. This is the very danger which
arises in connexion with the use of the term munitions de guerre as the
description of a category of private property which may be seized by way
of exception under Article 53 of the Hague Regulations. The second para-
graph of this Article provides that 'All appliances, whether on land, at sea,
or in the air, adapted for the transmission of news or for the transport of
I This tendency appears to have existed for some years prior to 1899. Thus Graber, Develop-
ment of the Law of Belligerent Occupation, 1863-1914 (1949), P. 194, states that 'the publicists of
the Lieber period devote more space to the treatment to be accorded private property than to the
protection of personal rights'.
I Miscellaneous No. 4 (1950), Cmd. 8033.
3 ,... in so far as motives of humanity urge the applicability of rules of war equally to both
belligerents, it is possible that these considerations apply also to a large extent to rules connected
vith the acquisition of title to property. For in many cases the law in question is designed to
protect the individual and the economic life of the occupied territory from the hardships and
exactions of war.' H. Lauterpacht, 'The Limits of the Operation of the Law of War', in this
Year Book, 30 (1953), p. 231.

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