IRRC No. 885

A different sense of humanity: occupation in Francis Lieber’s Code

Reading time 15 min read
Download PDF
This article is also available in

Accounts narrating the history of the modern law of occupation display ambivalence to the 1863 Lieber Code. At times, they mark the humanity of its provisions on occupied territories; at others, they find its concept of humanity in occupation limited compared to subsequent developments. A broader reading of the Code against Lieber's published works, teaching, and correspondence reveals a unique – and disconcerting – sense of humanity pervading through its provisions. Lieber's different sense of humanity, not directed at individuals, throws light on the history of the law governing occupied territories today and paves the way for critical reflections on its conceptual bases. Keywords: occupation, Lieber Code, Lieber's sense of humanity, occupied territories, early modern occupation law, humanitarian imperative, international order, military necessity, public order.

Continue reading #IRRC No. 885