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21 - The Law of Armed Conflict

from Part IV - Grotius as a Legal Scholar

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 September 2021

Randall Lesaffer
Affiliation:
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Janne E. Nijman
Affiliation:
Universiteit van Amsterdam
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Summary

To expound the law relating to war was a primary purpose of Hugo Grotius in the writing of his famous treatise, De jure belli ac pacis (1625). In Grotius’ opinion, a ‘very serious error’ had taken hold of the popular mind, to the effect that there was no law regulating the manner in which the combatants went about their deadly business. The events of the Thirty Years War, raging in central Europe at the time the book was written, could easily have given rise to such a notion. Be that as it may, one of Grotius’ central concerns was to refute this pernicious misconception. Even in time of war, he insisted, the opposing sides remain part of a common moral community, governed by the general law of nature, and also by the body of customary and contractual law known as the law of nations.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Ambühl, R., Prisoners of War in the Hundred Years War; Ransom Culture in the Late Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2013).Google Scholar
Clapham, A., and Gaeta, P. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict (Oxford, 2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dinstein, Y., The Conduct of Hostilities under the International Law of Armed Conflict (3rd edn., Cambridge, 2016).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keen, M.H., The Laws of War in the Late Middle Ages (London, 1965).Google Scholar
Neff, S.C., ‘Vattel and the Laws of War. A Tale of Three Circles’, in Chetail, V. and Haggenmacher, P. (eds.), Vattel’s International Law in a XXIst Century Perspective/Le droit international de Vattel vu du XXIe sièce (Leiden and Boston 2011), 317–33.Google Scholar

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