Según un comunicado del Institut de Droit International debe recordarse lo declarado en su Sesión de Brujas de 2003 sobre el uso de la fuerza en las relaciones internacionales y hace un llamamiento a todos los Estados para que respeten los principios fundamentales allí mencionados.
BRUGES DECLARATION ON THE USE OF FORCE
September 2, 2003
The Institut de Droit international
Recalls Article 1 of its Statutes adopted by the Ghent international legal
conference (conférence juridique internationale) of 10 September 1873 in which it is
stated that the Institut’s
“2. […] purpose is to promote the progress of international law […] d) by
contributing, within the limits of its competence, either to the maintenance of
peace, or to the observance of the laws of war”.
Recalls its resolution adopted at the Zurich Session in 1877 entitled “Application
of the Law of Nations to the War of 1877 between Russia and Turkey” in which it
considered itself “unable to close the present Session without again raising its voices in
favour of law and humanity”.
The Institut considers that its duty is to reaffirm that the use of force by States in
international relations is governed by international law. One of the major achievements of
the twentieth century was the “outlawing” of war, in particular by the Briand-Kellogg
Pact whose 75th anniversary is being celebrated, and by the United Nations Charter on the
basis of which the following fundamental principles were proclaimed:
- the threat or use of force are prohibited and States are bound to settle
their disputes by peaceful means;
- a war of aggression constitutes an international crime;
- force may be used only in the exercise of the right to legitimate selfdefence or under the authorization of the Security Council;
- the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and
security is entrusted to the Security Council.
Only the Security Council, or the General Assembly acting under the more
limited framework of the “Uniting For Peace” Resolution of 1950, may,
depending on the particular circumstances at hand, decide that a given situation
constitutes a threat to international peace and security, without this necessarily
meaning that the recourse to force is the only possible adequate response.
The Institut equally reaffirms that acts of terrorism, from whatever source,
are prohibited under international law and constitute an international crime.
In addition, the waging of an armed conflict entails the application of the
totality of international humanitarian law and in particular, the following
- the distinction between the civilian population and military personnel as
well as between civilian objects and military objectives must be
respected in all circumstances; and civilian persons and objects must
never be targeted;
- combatants who are captured have the right to be treated as prisoners of
war; in cases of doubt, their status has to be determined by a tribunal;
and even if such a tribunal decides that they do not meet the conditions
for the status of prisoner of war, they nonetheless benefit from the rights
guaranteed by international humanitarian law in respect of all persons in
the power of the enemy (which are codified in Article 75 of the First
Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949).
Belligerent occupation of a territory entails the application of the rules of
international humanitarian law codified in the Hague Regulations of 1907, the
Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the First Additional Protocol:
- belligerent occupation does not transfer sovereignty over territory to the
- the occupying power can only dispose of the resources of the occupied
territory to the extent necessary for the current administration of the
territory and to meet the essential needs of the population;
- the occupying power assumes the responsibility and the obligation to
maintain order and to guarantee the security of the inhabitants of the
territory and to protect its historical heritage, cultural property and basic
infrastructure essential to the needs of the population;
- the occupying power has the obligation to meet the basic needs of the
- the occupying power has the obligation to respect the rights of the
inhabitants of the occupied territory which are guaranteed by
international humanitarian law and international human rights law, the
minimum content of which is codified in Article 75 of the First
The Institut de Droit international appealing to the universal conscience of mankind,
emphatically requests all States to respect the above mentioned fundamental principles.
JUSTITIA ET PACE