That which is practised on a daily basis
Displacement of people
in International law in Europe, 700–1200
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This chapter argues that one of the best ways to see that international law was practised on a daily basis in the medieval period is to look at displacement of people and in particular expulsion, e.g., exile, banishment, outlawry. Expulsion of individuals who had committed reprehensible acts was one of the ways in which medieval rulers and communities dealt with law and order. Expulsion from a political entity was reserved for the most serious offences; those which could not be atoned for with compensation. However, while expulsion was intended to ensure law and order on a domestic level, it could result in becoming a threat to peace and security on an ‘international’ level. This was because, once expelled, such individuals, shorn of their social and economic status, often committed further reprehensible acts and/or engaged in conflict against the entity from whence they had come. Consequently, one of the foremost purposes of concluding treaties between rulers was to ensure that those who had been expelled from one political entity did not find shelter in another and almost every treaty contains a clause about not harbouring each other’s enemies. The chapter examines the evidence available in treaties, putting it into a wide legal context of expulsion at both a domestic and international level. It further explores the strategies for dealing with expulsion and the extent to which there was enforcement of the clauses found in treaties by using a range of complementary evidence available in laws, letters and narrative sources.


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