Manual of Military Law 1929, Amendments (No. 12)

2 THE LAW SAND USAGES OF WAR LAND.ON Ch. XIV In revising this chapter no account has been taken of the —recommendations of various conferences which though representing a substantial measure of agreement have not as yet been embodied in international conventions and have not in consequence, received the force of International Law. Such draft agreements must however be considered as International Law in the making (such for instance as the draft conventions for “Rules for the control of radio in time of war "and "Rules of Aerial Warfare ”elaborated at The Hague 1922-3 and the "Report of the Special Committee of the Disarmament Conference Geneva 1932 on Chemical and Bacteriological Weapons ").There can in the nature of things be no finality regarding the laws and usages of war land.on Under the post-war regime fresh conventions are constantly under negotiation under the auspices of the League of Nations and other International bodies and the acts of signature accession and ratification by the States concerned affect the application of existing conventions between them. I .—Or i gin and Nature o f the Law sand Usages o f War. thvu1 °es 1 The laws of war are the rules respecting warfare with which, and'law s of according to International Law belligerents and neutrals ware :r- bound to comply. In antiquity and in the earlier part of the Middle Ages no such rules of warfare existed :the practice of warfare was unsparingly cruel and the discretion of the com­manders was legally in noway limited. During the latter part of the Middle Ages however the influences of Christianity as well as of chivalry made themselves felt and gradually the practice of warfare became less savage. The present laws of war are the result of a slow and gradual growth. Isolated milder war practices became in the course of time usages so-called usus in hello manner of warfare and these usages were developed into legal rules by custom and treaties. Customary 2. The laws of war consist therefore partly of customary rules, w ritten"3 which have grownup in practice and partly of written rules, rules. that is rules which have been purposely agreed upon by the Powers in international treaties. Side by side with these customary and written laws of war there are in existence and are still growing, usages concerning warfare. While the laws of war are legally binding, usages are not and the latter can therefore for sufficient reasons be disregarded by belligerents.1 Usages have however a tendency gradually to harden into legal rules of warfare and the greater part of the present laws of war have grownup in that way. Three 3 .The development of the laws and usages of war is determined termed kiln g by three principles. There is firstly the principle that a development belligerent is justified in applying any amount and any kind of uLgesofH'' force which is necessary for the purpose of war :that is the war. complete submission of the enemy at the earliest possible moment with the least possible expenditure of men and money. There is, secondly the principle of humanity which says that all such kinds and degrees of violence areas not necessary for the purpose of war are not permitted to a belligerent. And there is thirdly 1 As to the means of securing legitimate warfare see para. 435 et seq.
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