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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Hague Conventions and the Anglo-Boer War
Authors:Raath, A.W.G.ISNI
Strydom, H.A.ISNI
Periodical:South African Yearbook of International Law
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:law of war
Anglo-Boer wars
Abstract:Basic principles of behaviour during armed conflict dictate that the means of injuring the enemy are not unlimited; that attacks on civilian populations are prohibited; and that a distinction must be made between combatants and non-combatants. When Britain went to war in South Africa in 1899, these principles were already the subject of an international humanitarian-inspired codification process. This article assesses State conduct during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) in terms of the Hague Convention of 1899. After dealing with inter-State relations during the nineteenth century, in particular humanitarian law, the international law status of the Boer Republics, and the development of the laws and customs of war on land, it analyses British military authority and conduct in the light of the Hague Convention of 1899: compulsion of the population of occupied territory to take part in military operations against its own country; pressure on the population of occupied territory to take the oath to the hostile power; looting, confiscation and respect for rights, lives and property; disrespect by British troops and military assistants for lives, rights and property. Several considerations may restrain a State from breaching international obligations, but Britain's powerful position effectively neutralized the influence these considerations could have had on its conduct with regard to compliance or non-compliance with the laws and customs of war. Notes, ref.