The First Modern Codification of the Law of War

Francis Lieber and General Orders No. 100[1]

Mr. Henri Coursier, of the Legal Department of the ICRC, published some time ago a study on “Francis Lieber and the Laws of War" in the International Review[2], together with a French translation of Orders No. 100 relative to the behaviour of the United States Armies in the field (the famous “Lieber Laws"), the object of which was to have the principles of international law applied during the American civil war (1861-1865). These orders which were immediately recognized and appreciated by the principal lawyers of the time, had a great influence on the future of the law of nations, since it can be said that the Hague Regulations, which sprang from the 1899 and 1907 Peace Conferences, were very largely inspired by them, and several provisions of the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, stem from the same source. It was to Lieber that the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, appealed to establish this Code which was promulgated in 1863, thus preceding by one year the First Geneva Convention.

We are now returning to this subject, and in this issue and the next we are publishing an authoritative article written for us by Mr. R. R. Baxter, Professor ofInternational Law at Harvard University. We are pleased to illustrate in this way, as we had previously done in publishing a French translation of Orders No. 100, thus illustrating the contribution of American learning and thought to the formulation of the contemporary law of war. (Edit.)

* [1] [1]

  • [1] Part one of this article first appeared in International Review ofthe Red Cross, Vol. 3, No. 25, April 1963, pp. 171-189.
  • [2] See English Supplement, September 1953.
  • [3] Part one of this article first appeared in International Review ofthe Red Cross, Vol. 3, No. 25, April 1963, pp. 171-189.
  • [4] Part one of this article first appeared in International Review ofthe Red Cross, Vol. 3, No. 25, April 1963, pp. 171-189.
 
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