Publication
Title
La neutralité permanente de la Belgique et l'histoire du droit international : quelques jalons pour la recherche
Author
Abstract
The mandatory status of Belgiums permanent neutrality (1830-1919) is an object of legal as well as historical research. Narratives in both disciplines often link an attitude of abstention in armed conflict and a certain impetus for the advancement of the cause of international law and institutions. However, any analysis should start from the conceptual pedigree of permanent neutrality. The instauration of a permanent neutrality cannot be seen but as a derogation, or at best a transformation of the concept of voluntary neutrality, established in early modern state practice. Neutrality cannot be conceived without an ongoing conflict between two third states. Rendering the restrictions of voluntary neutrality permanent, even when no conflict between third parties is around, equals restraining the sovereign freedom of an actor in the international system. Abstention, impartiality and military credibility were imposed on Belgium. As a counterparty, the Great Powers undertook a collective guarantee. In reality, only the United Kingdom displayed its determination to intervene in case of a violation of Belgiums (European) territory. The vague and uncertain legal aspects (joint or individual guarantee, limited to civilised nations ?) and the movements of a political chessboard in constant flux fragilized what should have been a protection or a certainty, rather than a source of worries. Diplomatic practice should be reinterpreted using this legal, conceptual and historical explanatory grid, close to the actors preoccupations.
Language
French
Source (journal)
Cahiers / Centre de recherches en histoire du droit et des institutions
Publication
2018
Volume/pages
41 (2018) , p. 1-16
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Law 
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Record
Identification
Creation 11.12.2018
Last edited 15.07.2021
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