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Q: 4th Geneva Convention ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: 4th Geneva Convention
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: dominic2004-ga
List Price: $35.00
Posted: 08 Jun 2004 06:27 PDT
Expires: 08 Jul 2004 06:27 PDT
Question ID: 358100
Hi. In simple terms, what obligations un der international law do
occupying forces have towards the citizens in the occupied territory
or country? Specifically, must they ensure security for the people and
must they pay the financial costs of maintaining security out of their
own budgets - or can the bill be footed by using assets belonging to
the cooucpied state? Thank you.
Subject: Re: 4th Geneva Convention
Answered By: thx1138-ga on 08 Jun 2004 09:04 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello dominic2004 and thank you for your question.

Basically, an occupying force has a legal obligation to maintain law
and order under the fourth Geneva Convention.  The occupying force is
not required to pay civilian officers, but the occupying force must
ensure that public officials are paid (either by using the occupied
states funds, or by using the occupying forces funds)

For further information see below:

"International humanitarian law, as reflected in the U.S. military's
own guidelines, obliges the occupying power to restore and ensure
public order and safety. Law enforcement must, itself, be conducted in
conformity with international human rights law standards. These
standards apply to all those acting under U.S. authority, including
non-U.S. members and coalition armed forces, Iraqi police, and any
international law enforcement officers who may eventually serve in

The duty to provide security for civilians attaches as soon as the
occupying force exercises control or authority over civilians of the
occupied territory-that is, at the soonest possible moment. (This
principle is stated in U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 as well as the
Fourth Geneva Convention, art. 6.) Military commanders on the spot
must prevent and where necessary suppress serious violations involving
the local population."

Also see:
"Question: What are the obligations of an occupying power towards the
local population?

An occupying power is responsible for respecting the fundamental human
rights of the population under its authority. All persons shall be
treated humanely and without discrimination. This includes respecting
family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property,
as well as religious and customary beliefs and practice. Women shall
be especially protected against any attack, in particular against
rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault. Everyone
shall be treated with the same consideration by the occupying power
without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race,
religion or political opinion. Private property may not be
confiscated. However, an occupying power may take such measures of
control and security as may be necessary as a result of the war."

"Law and Administration in an Occupied Territory

Question: What responsibilities does an occupying power have with
respect to the legal system and administration of the occupied

An occupying power has a duty to restore public order and safety. The
criminal laws of the occupied country remain in effect. The occupying
power may only set aside or modify laws that contradict international
legal standards or which pose a security threat to the occupying
power. Any criminal laws enacted must be publicized; ex post facto
(retroactive) laws are prohibited.

So long as they can ensure the effective administration of justice,
the courts of the occupied territory shall continue to function. Where
this is not possible, the occupying power may set up "properly
constituted, non-political military courts" with local or foreign
judges to sit in the occupied country; such courts must apply
international fair trial standards. This excludes all "special
tribunals." The occupying power's own courts may only prosecute
violations of international humanitarian law and crimes of universal

Likewise, the administration of the occupied territory shall be given
the opportunity to carry on its activities. An occupying power may not
compel public officials to stay in their jobs. It is permitted to
remove officials from their posts. Should it be necessary,
particularly if there is an administrative vacuum, the occupying power
may set up a new civil administration."

"Public Officials in an Occupied Territory

Question: Is an occupying power required to pay the salaries of state employees? 

International humanitarian law does not specify that an occupying
force is required to pay the salaries of all state employees. However,
an occupying power has an obligation to ensure public order and
safety, and provide necessary services such as health care. Public
officials are needed for this and they must be paid a salary. The
Fourth Geneva Convention on occupation provides that while an
occupying power has the right to remove government employees, it also
cannot compel persons to work without payment. From this the
conclusion can be drawn that an occupying power must ensure that wages
be paid to those state employees retained in their positions."

The full text is available here:
"Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in
Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949"

Thank you for your question, and if you need any clarification of my
answer, do not hesitate to ask before rating my answer.

Very best regards


Search strategy included:
"policing * iraq" convention

Request for Answer Clarification by dominic2004-ga on 08 Jun 2004 10:05 PDT
Do you get the impression then that there is no definitive answer (as
I do, having asked around) to the question as to whther it is legal
for an occupying administration to use local assets to fund security.
I refer to the use of oil sale receipts funding security in Iraq. I
sense there is ambiguity on this point in international law and else

Thank you.

Clarification of Answer by thx1138-ga on 08 Jun 2004 10:56 PDT
Hello again dominic2004.

Well, I think the key words in your request for clarification are
"fund security" I think there is no doubt that money from Iraq's oil
revenue can be used to fund the Iraqi civil police, after all, even if
Iraq had not been invaded they might have been funded in this way. 
The slightly more tricky point is if you are asking about funding the
security of coalition troops.  The Geneva Convention places heavy
restrictions on what an occupation force can use in terms of using a
country's resources, and I would say that using oil revenue of an
occupied country to fund an occupying army would go against
international law, after all it is the responibility of a country's
government to fund it's army.

Very best regards


Clarification of Answer by thx1138-ga on 08 Jun 2004 12:51 PDT
Hello again dominic2004

Some further information for you:

"Oil is an immovable object and so cannot be removed for the benefit
of the occupying power. Instead, the occupying power has an obligation
to properly maintain oil wells and other facilities."

"What does Resolution 1483 say about how Iraqi oil proceeds can be used?

It says that all oil proceeds will be deposited in a special account,
the Development Fund for Iraq, to be administered by the authorities
from the U.S.-led occupation government in consultation with the Iraqi
interim administration. For now, the Iraqi interim administration
consists of the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council. These proceeds are
?to be used in a transparent manner? and limited to:

humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people 
economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq?s infrastructure 
continued disarmament of Iraq 
costs of Iraqi civilian administration 
?other purposes benefiting the people of Iraq.? "

"Returns oil revenues to Iraq. 
Oil revenues from export sales will be deposited in the Development
Fund for Iraq housed in the Central Bank of Iraq. The Development Fund
will be monitored by an international board that includes
representatives of the UN Secretary General, the IMF, the Arab Fund
for Social and Economic Development, and the World Bank. Independent
public accountants reporting to the board will audit the fund to
ensure full transactional transparency.
Ensures Iraqi revenues are spent on Iraqi reconstruction. The
resolution underlines that the Development Fund will be used in a
transparent manner: for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people,
economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq's infrastructure, the
continued disarmament of Iraq, the costs of Iraqi civilian
administration, and other purposes benefiting the people of Iraq.
Temporarily immunizes oil sales. To ensure that Iraqis have access to
the critical resources needed for reconstruction during the transition
period, oil sales will be immunized against attachment by
international creditors or others with claims against the former
regime until December 31, 2007."

"More than $200 million from the Development Fund for Iraq -- the
primary source of money for the interim Iraqi government, humanitarian
aid programs, and reconstruction projects -- will be used to pay for
critical security equipment and facilities in the coming months,
according to the report obtained by the Globe."

My interpretation of the information is that under the Geneva
convention oil revenues cannot be used for the benefit of the
occupying power BUT, a United Nations resolution (1483) says that oil
revenue must go to the "Development Fund for Iraq" which has the power
to spend it on security.

Very best regards

dominic2004-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Very helpful and quick. Confirmed my research. Thank you.

Subject: Re: 4th Geneva Convention
From: thx1138-ga on 09 Jun 2004 05:39 PDT
Hello again dominic2004.

Just a note to say thank you for the five stars and the generous tip.

Very best regards


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