Rudolf BindschedlerBindschedler Doktrin

Rudolf Bindschedler,  Der Begriff der Neutralität, Report “Bindschedler   Doktrin” 26 November 1954.


While Swiss neutrality as such was initially guaranteed by the Treaty of Paris of 1815 and has since been confirmed on several occasions, the specific elements of neutrality in case of war and the rights and obligations it entailed were largely codified by the two Hague Neutrality Conventions of 1907 . As the experience of the two World Wars in the course of the 20th century had a profound impact on the development of jus ad bellum, the Hague Neutrality Conventions were considered at least partially outdated and the need to reshape the law of neutrality became apparent. The text is a codification of the Swiss conception of neutrality and in particular the rights and obligations that can be deduced from it. Elaborated by the Political Department under Rudolf Bindschedler in 1954, the so called Bindschedler Doctrine was used for internal purposes only and carried no authoritative weight. However, it reached international recognition soon after its publication. Bindschedler also taught international law at the University of Bern. He shaped the thinking of many future diplomats and civil servants and may also explain why Switzerland felt unable to join the European Economic Community at the time, or even enter into a closer association with the emerging organization in Europe.


The Doctrine shows a strict interpretation of neutrality, which reflected Swiss foreign policy as it was practised during the early years of the cold war. Controversial among other aspects of the Doctrine are the obligations of a neutral state in the case of war and in particular the principle of non-discrimination between belligerent states as stated in Art. IV. A remnant of 19th century neutrality facing limited warfare, it is considered too strict a principle to do justice to the challenges of contemporary conflicts.


You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: Bindschedler – Doktrin

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