Peace treaties concluded after cessation of hostilities were usually considered to be valid because of preceding warfare.

preceding means "come before (something) in time" warfare means "engagement in or the activities involved in war or conflict." what is combination of these words?

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    It means "because of the warfare which preceded them". They were considered valid because the actions of the war culminated in a milieu which defined the morality, relative power, jurisdiction, etc, in which the treaty is seen as legitimate. Before the war there was a lack of mutually conceded legitimate domain: hence the war. – Dan Sheppard Apr 8 '16 at 18:30
  • It means "warfare that came before (something)"; in this case the (something) is the subject of the main sentence, that is, "Peace treaties". – Hellion Apr 8 '16 at 18:31
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By itself, the sentence doesn't make a whole lot of sense (it seems intuitive that peace treaties follow hostility, and that seems redundant), so your confusion is understandable. Whenever that happens, you have to look at the entire paragraph for context which will help explain it.

Your paragraph is discussing the validity of peace treaties: when they are valid and when they are not.

The sentence before states that

It is also recognized that a treaty is void if its conclusions have been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the United Nations Charter.

Your sentence is saying that because the hostilities ended before the treaty was signed, it is valid.

Context is very important.

  • , I understand your answer, but I couldn't understand the relation between "ending hostilities" and "being valid" – yorgun Apr 8 '16 at 19:07

In historical international usage, largely superseded by modern law, the shedding of blood, or at least the use of force to achieve an end, such as the conquest of a territory, or the successful defense of a territory, was often seen to confirm ownership in a case where it might otherwise be doubtful. Or that the result of combat (and bloodshed on both sides) was seen to confirm the provisions of a treaty.

For example, Spain had originally owned what became the Louisiana Purchase, but it was under French administration by virtue of some shady dealings when Napoleon sold it to the United States. Spain later contested the sale, claiming that, among other objections, that Napoleon had no right to sell it. But the fact that the United States had successfully defended New Orleans against the British in the War of 1812 was considered to be strong ground for disregarding the Spanish claims. There were other reasons, too, including the fact that the USA had asked Spain about buying it, but Spain had directed the USA to talk to France about it instead.

Some of what I've said about Louisiana I've unfortunately been so far unable to confirm (having heard it said by someone who I thought was an authority on the subject), but there is an interesting discussion about it on Wikipedia.

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