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Military Government Edit

Military government is the form of administration by which an occupying power exercises governmental authority over occupied territory.

The Hague Conventions of 1907 specify that "territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.". The form of administration by which an occupying power exercises government authority over occupied territory is called "military government."

Neither the Hague Conventions nor the Geneva Conventions specifically define or distinguish an act of "invasion." The terminology of "occupation" is used exclusively.

Beginning of Military Government Edit

There does not have to be a formal announcement of the beginning of "military government," nor is there any requirement of a specific number of people to be in place, or "on site" before military government can be said to have commenced.

See Birkhimer, p. 25 - 26

No proclamation of the part of the victorious commander is necessary to the lawful inauguration and enforcement of military government. That government results from the fact that the former sovereignty is ousted, and the opposing army how has control. Yet the issuing such proclamation is useful as publishing to all living in the discrict occupied those rules of conduct which will govern the conqueror in the exercise of his authority. Wellington, indeed, as previously mentioned, said that the commander is bound to lay down distinctly the rules according to which his will is to be carried out. But the laws of war do not imperatively require this, and in very many instances it is not done. When it is not, the mere fact that the country is militarily occupied by the enemy is deemed sufficient notification to all concerned that the regular has been supplanted by a military government.

The Occupying Power Edit

The terminology of "the occupying power" as spoken of in the laws of war is most properly rendered as "the principal occupying power," or alternatively as "the (principal) occupying power." This is because the law of agency is always available.

Explanatory Notes: When the administrative authority for the military occupation of particular areas is delegated to other troops, a "principal -- agent" relationship is in effect.

The conqueror is the principal occupying power.

End of Military Government Edit

RULE: Military Government continues until legally supplanted.

This is explained as follows. For the situation where no territorial cession is involved, the military government of the principal occupying power will end with the coming into force of the peace settlement.

  • Example: (1) Japan after WWII. Japan regained its sovereignty with the coming into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on April 28, 1952. In other words, a civil government for Japan was in place and functioning as of this date.

In the situation of a territorial cession, there must be a formal peace treaty. However, the military government of the principal occupying power does not end with the coming into force of the peace treaty.

  • Example: (1) Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War. Military government continued in Puerto Rico past the coming into force of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 on April 11, 1899, and only ended on May 1, 1900 with the beginning of Puerto Rico's civil government.
  • Example: (2) Cuba after the Spanish-American War. Military government continued in Cuba past the coming into force of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 on April 11, 1899, and only ended on May 20, 1902 with the beginning of the Republic of Cuba's civil government.

Hence, at the most basic level, the terminology of "legally supplanted" is interpreted to mean "legally supplanted by a civil government fully recognized by the national (or "federal") government of the principal occupying power."

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