The international regulations on siege warfare have evolved from lenient to increasingly restrictive, both with regard to the conduct of hostilities and to humanitarian assistance to victims of war. Siege warfare is not forbidden but heavily restricted, in particular by the prohibition of starvation of the civilian population, the latter commonly considered as customary in character. Together with the evolution of international humanitarian law, the evolution of armed conflicts, once fought on battlefields and now increasingly in urban areas and among the civilians, results in sieges being a lawful method of warfare but only when directed against combatants. This chapter examines the legality of sieges in the light of international humanitarian law. Apart from the analysis of international humanitarian law, a possible impact of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on the law and practice of siege warfare is signaled. The aim of this chapter is to show historical and current regulations of international humanitarian law on siege warfare and in this way identify the evolution of the law on sieges.
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