Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The law of neutrality applies among states engaged in war and third states seeking to maintain friendly relations with the belligerent states. While belligerent parties possess belligerent rights, including those in the Law of Prize, states deemed neutral must fulfill certain neutral duties. In exchange, neutral states enjoy the protection afforded to neutral parties by the law of neutrality.

The Article focuses on the state of affairs that triggers application of the law of neutrality. The law addressing this issue leaves many questions unanswered. This Article addresses the importance of the declaration of war by belligerent states in assessing whether the law of neutrality will apply to third states. The Article argues that state practice has established that the laws of war and neutrality are now conditioned on the existence of armed conflict, rather than official declarations of war. The Article concludes by adopting the concept of a "state of generalized hostilities" to accurately characterize state practice regarding the Laws of War and the status of third states as neutrals.