Annexation

Annexation

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Annexation is the de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity (either adjacent or non-contiguous). Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size. It can also imply a certain measure of coercion, expansionism
Expansionism
In general, expansionism consists of expansionist policies of governments and states. While some have linked the term to promoting economic growth , more commonly expansionism refers to the doctrine of a state expanding its territorial base usually, though not necessarily, by means of military...

 or unilateralism
Unilateralism
Unilateralism is any doctrine or agenda that supports one-sided action. Such action may be in disregard for other parties, or as an expression of a commitment toward a direction which other parties may find agreeable...

 on the part of the stronger of the merging entities. Because of this, more positive terms like political union
Political union
A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. Unlike a personal union, the individual states share a common government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity...

 or reunification are sometimes preferred. Annexation differs from cession
Cession
The act of Cession, or to cede, is the assignment of property to another entity. In international law it commonly refers to land transferred by treaty...

 and amalgamation
Amalgamation (politics)
A merger or amalgamation in a political or administrative sense is the combination of two or more political or administrative entities such as municipalities , counties, districts, etc. into a single entity. This term is used when the process occurs within a sovereign entity...

, because unlike cession where territory is given or sold through treaty, or amalgamation (where the authorities of both sides are asked if they agree with the merge), annexation is a unilateral act where territory is seized and held by one state and legitimized via general recognition by the other international bodies (i.e. countries and intergovernmental organisations).

During World War II the use of annexation deprived whole populations of the safeguards provided by international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

s governing military occupation
Military occupation
Military occupation occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army. The territory then becomes occupied territory.-Military occupation and the laws of war:...

s. The authors of the Geneva Convention IV made a point of "giving these rules an absolute character". Making it much more difficult for a state to bypass international law through the use of annexation.

Annexation and international law after 1948


The Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

 (GCIV) of 1949 amplified the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 in respect to the question of the protection of civilians. GCIV also emphasised the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

: the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 (June 26, 1945) had prohibited war of aggression (See articles 1.1, 2.3, 2.4) and GCIV Article 47, the first paragraph in Section III: Occupied territories, restricted the effects of annexation on the rights of persons within those territories: