IRRC No. 856

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

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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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