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Existentialism in Iraq: Security Council Resolution 1483 and the law of occupation

31-12-2004 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 856, by Marten Zwanenburg


Marten Zwanenburg
Marten Zwanenburg is a lawyer for the Department of Defence of the Netherlands. He holds a doctorate from the University of Leiden. The views expressed in this article are the author’s personal views and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of Defence of the Netherlands. The author gratefully acknowledges comments and suggestions by the members of the Working Group on the Law of International Organizations of the Netherlands International Law Society. 

The law of occupation was an important part of the legal regime applicable in Iraq until the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government in June 2004. Security Council Resolutions on Iraq, in particular Resolution 1483, also formed an important part of the applicable legal framework, a part which was not necessarily in all respects compatible with the law of occupation. This article examines the relationship between the law of occupation and Security Council Resolution 1483 in Iraq. It analyzes whether, and if so under which conditions, the UN Security Council may derogate from the law of occupation. This involves an examination of the relevant articles of the U N Charter. The article then discusses whether the Council has actually derogated from the law of occupation in the case of Iraq. To this end, Security Council Resolution 1483 as well as related state practice is analyzed.


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