Nearly one year ago a small coalition of States led by the United States of America and the United Kingdom invaded Iraq and overthrown the regime of Saddam Hussein. Since the coalition force gained effective control over the territory of Iraq, accompanied by the official end of hostilities, Iraq must be regarded as occupied territory. This means a specific set of rules comes into force under which all forms of belligerent occupation shall be executed. This paper tries to introduce the legal framework under which an occupying power must execute its occupation concerning the specific question of use of property under occupation with special emphasis on hydrocarbon resources. The major focus lies on the legal provisions and their development over time rather then on an in dept examination of the current situation in Iraq. Nevertheless a final conclusion will try to reconcile the legal arguments with some of the problems arising from the effect of belligerent occupation in Iraq at this time.
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