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Revising the laws of war on prisoners of war in the twentieth century: Introduction

Jones, H; (2016) Revising the laws of war on prisoners of war in the twentieth century: Introduction. War in History , 23 (4) pp. 408-415. 10.1177/0968344515625684. Green open access

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Abstract

Has international humanitarian law – the modern term for law regulating international armed conflict which encompasses both the laws of war and customary international law – proved so inadequate? What, in fact, has been its changing impact and relevance across the twentieth century? This edition of War in History focuses in depth on this question, seeking to analyse specifically how one aspect of international humanitarian law has evolved: how the laws of war have affected behaviour towards prisoners in a series of chronologically and geographically diverse twentieth-century conflicts. Of course, such a thematic group of articles can never hope to conclusively address the functional or moral value of the laws of war; however, by focusing on one issue – prisoner treatment – across a series of case studies, ranging from the Japanese occupation in the Second World War to the Korean War and the decolonization conflict in Aden, it becomes possible to glean a clearer understanding of how the international legal framework can have a cultural influence upon conflict mentalities. This introduction will first outline how the laws of war relating to prisoners of war developed and evolved as a result of specific historical contexts and why they came to hold such prominence and, second, will consider to what degree the articles in this special edition shed light on broad structural thematic developments regarding their cultural status and application.

Type: Article
Title: Revising the laws of war on prisoners of war in the twentieth century: Introduction
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0968344515625684
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0968344515625684
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Prisoners of war, Hague Convention, Geneva Convention, captivity, laws of war, international humanitarian law
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071843
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