The guardians : an international history of the Dutch and 'Hague Law', 1944-1949
Boyd van Dijk
Shaping the international relations of the Netherlands, 1815-2000 : a small country on the global scene
London ; New York : Routledge, 2018
p. 163-182 : photogr.
This article explores the history of the origins of the Dutch as guardians of ‘Hague Law’. Based on a collection of multilingual archival materials, and focusing on three principal questions in particular (i.e. war crimes, the law of occupation, and colonial warfare), the article shows how the Dutch played a far more significant role in revising the post-1945 international legal order than what is commonly assumed in the literature. Especially the now largely forgotten jurist M.W. Mouton played a critical role in promoting a new war crimes’ regime that would lie at the origins of the ICC’s founding statute. On the other hand, while trying to revise the Hague and Geneva Conventions, these Dutch officials had to bring their internationally progressive effort to promote criminal law into harmony with their own obligations as a loyal NATO partner and a declining colonial power. Adding a new dimension to ongoing debates about the War of Independence in Indonesia, this article also reveals how the Dutch rejected plans to apply the future Conventions to colonial wars. As a result of these clashing images, it became eventually impossible for them to uphold their role as the guardian of ‘Hague Law’.