Occupation courts, jus ad bellum considerations, and non-state actors : revisiting the ethics of military occupation
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Legal theory, Vol. 21, issue 1, March 2015, p. 18-46
This article provides a normative appraisal of the law of military occupation by looking into occupation courts and their legitimacy. It focuses on two cornerstones of the current regulation of war: the principle of equality of belligerents, that is, the potential relevance of jus ad bellum considerations on the in bello rights of occupants, and the normative force of the traditional distinction between states and non-state armed groups, specially in conflicts not of an international character. Against the currently predominant neoclassical position in just war theory, it argues in favor of the moral equality of just and unjust occupants. Against the orthodox position in international law, it advocates the symmetrical treatment of states and non-state actors fighting internal armed conflicts, at least in terms of the rights they may claim on the territories under their control. It concludes by appraising the way in which this moral landscape should be translated into legal norms.