The Duties of Occupying Powers in Relation to the Prevention and Control of Contagious Diseases

By: Dr. Marco Longobardo


PDF: Prevention and Control of Contagious Diseases


This Article explores the rules governing the prevention and control of contagious diseases in occupied territory under international law. Although the Article refers to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its scope is broader and encompasses instances of state practice that have occurred over the last two centuries. After a careful analysis of the relevant treaties and episodes of state practice, the Article concludes that occupying powers have duties under international humanitarian law and international human rights law to prevent and control contagious diseases, through cooperating with the local authorities and bringing the necessary medical supplies in the occupied territory. The Article stresses that taking these measures, including facilitating the supply of vaccines, is a duty under international law rather than an arbitrary act of international solidarity.