Q. What do you understand by Term Neutrality, discuss in detail its various
Neutrality is a term of International law, it applies to a state which is impartial and does not
take part in war or conflict between two states. Such a state does not support or help either
side to a conflict or disagreement.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary:
“The State of a nation which takes no part between two or more other nations at war”
Definition Given by Various Authors
1. Lawrence: “Conditions of those states which in times of war take no part in the
contest but continue pacific (peaceful character) intercourse (communication)
with the belligerents ( a nation or person engaged in war or conflict.
2. Jessup: “Neutrality is a legal status arising from the abstention (an instance of
dealing to vote for or against) of a state from all participation in a war between
3. Stark: “ In its popular sense, neutrality in its attitude of a state and in a
technical sense neutrality means a legal status of special nature of a state
involving complex of rights, duties and privileges at international law which must
be respected by belligerents”.
Neutrality has a long history in international law. Proclamations of Neutrality
were a means by which, if effective, nonbelligerent nations could avoid at least
some of the financial and political burdens of warfare. Thus, in 1914, President
Wilson proclaimed that “the United States must be neutral in fact, as well as in
Some of the commentator says that neutral status cases exist under the
obligation of United Nation Charter upon all members of the United Nation.
Article 2(25) of United Nation’s Charter:
“All members shall give the United Nation every assistance in any action it takes
in accordance with the present charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to
any state against which the United Nation is taking preventive and enforcement
Article 25 of United Nation’s Charter:
“The members of United Nation agree to accept and carry out the decision of the
security council in accordance with the present charter”.
Lauterpacht describes the following types of Neutrality:
1. Perpetual Neutrality: The status of states permanently neutralized by
2. General & Partial Neutrality: General Neutrality covers the territory of an
entire state, but circumstances may exist in which only a part of its territory
is neutrality, for example, by treaty.
3. Voluntary & Conventional Neutrality: In some instances a state is a bound
by treaty to remain neutral; in all other the status is purely voluntary.
4. Armed Neutrality: The status of a state which takes military measures to
protect its neutral status.
5. Benevolent Neutrality: An absolete term for less than neutral behavior.
6. Absolute Vs Qualified Neutrality: Qualified neutrality implies that giving
some kind of aid to one of the belligerent.
1. As there is no diplomatic intercourse between the contending States during
war, complaints of breaches of the laws of war are sent to the enemy…
through a neutral State. Which lends its good offices. Complaints may also
be lodged with neutral States, with or without a view to solicitation their
good offices, mediation or intervention for the purpose of making the
enemy observe the laws of war.
2. Neutrality does not demand that nations not participating in an armed
conflict should be indifferent to the issues of the belligerents. The
sympathies of neutrals may well lie entirely with one side, and a neutral
does not violate his duties as long as he does not commit any un-neutral
acts that might aid the side he favors.