Pray fire first Gentlemen of France : has 21st century chivalry been subsumed by humanitarian law ?
Evan J. Wallach
Host item entries:
Harvard national security journal, Vol. 3, issue 2, 2013, p. 431-469
In 1956 the U.S. Army’s FM 27-10 required that bellig-erents conduct hostilities “with regard for the princi-ples of ... chivalry... ”. Similarly, the 1958 British Man-ual of Military Law Part III stated that chivalry was one of the three principles which determined development of the law of war, saying it “demands a certain amount of fairness and a certain mutual respect between the opposing forces... ”. Despite those requirements, however, no clear definition of the term existed in a form which provided legal guidance for an officer concerned with international law compliance. The current (2004) British Manual drops the chivalry re-quirement, saying only that the Martens Clause5 “in-corporates the earlier rules of chivalry that opposing combatants were entitled to respect and honor.” One premise of this Article is that international humanitari-an law is not a substitute for the specific elements of chivalry, and that chivalric obligations must continue to guide military conduct, as U.S. law currently re-quires. It is written primarily at the tactical level, alt-hough aspects apply to operational and strategic mat-ters. After an historical survey, it examines modern chivalry both through positive requirements and nega-tive prohibitions in the national codes of the United States and the international law of war, and analyzes the application of those strictures in regulations, case authorities, and commentary.
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