belligerency

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belligerency

(bəlĭj`ərənsē), in international law, status of parties legally at war. Belligerency exists in a warwar,
armed conflict between states or nations (international war) or between factions within a state (civil war), prosecuted by force and having the purpose of compelling the defeated side to do the will of the victor.
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 between nations or in a civil war if the established government treats the insurgent force as if it were a sovereign power. The rules of international law as formulated at the Hague ConferencesHague Conferences,
term for the International Peace Conference of 1899 (First Hague Conference) and the Second International Peace Conference of 1907 (Second Hague Conference). Both were called by Russia and met at The Hague, the Netherlands.
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 require that belligerency between states be preceded by an absolute declaration of war or an ultimatum prescribing the terms on which the issuing power will refrain from war. When belligerency has been established, the relations between the warring powers are determined by the laws of war (see war, laws ofwar, laws of,
in international law, rules and principles regulating an armed conflict between nations. These laws are designed to minimize the destruction of life and property, to proscribe cruel treatment of noncombatants and prisoners of war, and to establish conditions under
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). In civil wars if the insurgent force is granted belligerency rights, neutral nations generally abstain from supplying or helping either the established government or its opponent. An example of this practice is found in the neutralityneutrality,
in international law, status of a nation that refrains from participation in a war between other states and maintains an impartial attitude toward the belligerents. Neutrality is not to be confused with neutralism, or nonalignment, under international law.
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 proclamations issued by European powers in the American Civil War. Neutral nations may refuse to recognize the belligerency of an insurgent, however, and in this way preserve the right to claim any damages that accrue against the established government for having failed to suppress the rebellion without delay. Under its charter, the United Nations recognizes as legitimate only wars that are fought in self-defense, or for the collective enforcement of the UN Charter. All other wars are regarded as illegal acts of aggression. The United Nations also considers civil wars as threatening to international peace, and, when possible, takes measures to end such hostilities (e.g., Kashmir, Palestine, Korea, the Congo, Cyprus).

Bibliography

See W. L. Gould, An Introduction to International Law (1957).

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