The law of military occupation and the role of de jure and de facto sovereignty
Salvatore Fabio Nicolosi
Host item entries:
Polish yearbook of international law, Vol. 31, 2011, p. 165-187
This article aims at defining the specific tenets of the doctrine of "military occupation" and assessing how it deals with the issue of "sovereignty", looking at the problem from a historical perspective. Accordingly, after tracing the evolution of belligerent occupation as a legal institution of international law, attention is turned to the concepts of "effectiveness" and "temporariness" and the interplay between de jure and de facto sovereignty in the light of the "occupation zone model", as it has been applied in the course of international practice. Against this background the article discusses the hypothesis that the codification of the "laws of war" and evolution of the doctrine of military occupation as a temporary and limited regime, whose final aim is to restore legitimate sovereignty over the occupied territory, constitutes a paradigm which could and should apply to various unlawful territorial situations today which have arisen as a result of a misapplication of the law of military occupation.