Accounts narrating the history of the modern law of occupation display ambivalence to the 1863 Lieber Code. At times, they mark the humanity of its provisions on occupied territories; at others, they find its concept of humanity in occupation limited compared to subsequent developments. A broader reading of the Code against Lieber’s published works, teaching, and correspondence reveals a unique – and disconcerting – sense of humanity pervading through its provisions. Lieber’s different sense of humanity, not directed at individuals, throws light on the history of the law governing occupied territories today and paves the way for critical reflections on its conceptual bases.
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