Detention in international military operations: problems and process

Jacques Hartmann (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On 20 October 2012 the Danish Government published a document entitled the “Copenhagen Process: Principles and Guidelines” (hereinafter the “Principles”). The document was the outcome of the “Copenhagen Process on the Handling of Detainees in International Military Operations” (hereinafter the “Copenhagen Process” or “Process”), a five-year multi-stakeholder effort to develop principles and good practices on detention in international military operations. The document addresses uncertainties surrounding the basis for the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees during international military operations. Seventeen States, including four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, have “welcomed” the document. Human rights organisations, on the other hand, have expressed dismay. This article outlines the legal problems concerning detention and transfer of detainees in international military operations. It further considers the process that led to the adoption of the principles and guidelines contained in the non-legally binding document that emerged from the Copenhagen Process and analyses the adopted Principles and Guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-352
Number of pages50
JournalMilitary Law and the Law of War Review
Issue number2
Early online date10 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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