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The British Way in Counter-Insurgency, 1945-1967$
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David French

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587964

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587964.001.0001

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The Legal Context and Counter-insurgency by Committee

The Legal Context and Counter-insurgency by Committee

(p.74) 3 The Legal Context and Counter-insurgency by Committee
The British Way in Counter-Insurgency, 1945-1967

David French

Oxford University Press

The British threw a veneer of legality over their operations by avoiding imposing martial law and instead employing emergency powers regulations to create a legal framework within which their security forces operated. The meaning of the concept of ‘minimum necessary force’ precluded the British from employing genocidal methods against their opponents, but did permit them to employ a very high degree of often lethal force. In the absence of martial law, the civil administration and police were not subordinated to the army, and so the British they had to develop a form of machinery to enable them to coordinate the activities of the different branches of government. The result was counter-insurgency by committee.

Keywords:   martial law, emergency powers, minimum necessary force, Sir Gerald Templer, Malaya

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