Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Commentary of 1958 


The words "close of hostilities" express a notion which has already been met with several times in the Convention: they mean the actual end of the fighting and not the official termination of a state of belligerency. The duration of restrictive measures does not therefore depend in any way on the date of conclusion of a peace treaty. This rule, which is in accordance with the usual practice among States, is justified by the fact that a fairly long time may elapse between the close of hostilities and the conclusion of a peace treaty; during that time the continuation of security and control measures would no longer be warranted.
There are many restrictive measures -- in particular those of a less severe character than internment or assigned residence -- which cannot always, for one reason or another, be cancelled immediately hostilities end; they are removed by stages as the law of the country is gradually adjusted to peacetime conditions. The Convention takes this fact into account when it lays down that States are to cancel restrictive measures "as soon as possible". The clause must be [p.271] regarded as an urgent recommendation to the Parties to the conflict to hasten the cancellation of restrictive measures and to allow protected persons to return to their normal way of life.
It should be noted, with special reference to internment, that a protected person who, as a result of circumstances, must continue to be interned as an exceptional measure after hostilities have ended is entitled to the benefits of the Convention up to the moment of his release (1).
This paragraph makes it quite clear that the close of hostilities is to be regarded as the ultimate reason and general signal for the withdrawal of restrictive measures, but that they must be withdrawn before then if the reasons for imposing them no longer exist. As has been seen the procedure for reviewing decisions, instituted by Article 43 , provides that internment and assigned residence are to cease as soon as the reasons for adopting such measures no longer exist. (2)


The absolute rule laid down in regard to persons in paragraph 1 is extended to property by paragraph 2 (subject to the application of the laws of the Detaining Power).
This provision, which is to be compared with those prohibiting pillage and reprisals, is nevertheless somewhat foreign to the real purpose of the Convention. The Diplomatic Conference emphasized on various occasions that its object was to protect people and not property. Consequently the question of the treatment of enemy private property in the territory of a belligerent is still, in general, governed by usage and by the Hague Regulations of 1907, especially Article 23 (g) and (h) .

Notes: (1) [(1) p.271] See Article 6, para. 4, on p. 64;

(2) [(2) p.271] See, in this connection, Article 133, para. 1,
which lays down, in the same way, that "internment shall
cease as soon as possible after the close of hostilities";