International law and the use of force

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter explores the justness, legitimacy, and legality of war. While 1945 was a key turning point in the codification of jus ad bellum (i.e. international law on the use of force), that framework did not emerge in a vacuum. Rather, it was the product of historical political contingencies that meant that codification of the laws of war was contemporaneous, both geographically and temporally, with the solidification of the norms of sovereign nation-statehood and territorial integrity. The chapter focuses on the UN Charter regime and how it has shaped the politics of war since 1945. Importantly, the Charter establishes a general prohibition on the use of force in international relations. It also grants two exceptions to the prohibition: actions undertaken with Security Council authorization and actions taken in self-defence. Today, many of the most serious challenges to the Charter regime concern the definition and outer limits of the concept of self-defence. Another set of challenges to the Charter regime concerns the contested concept of ‘humanitarian intervention’. The chapter then looks at the development of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of International Law
EditorsNicole Scicluna
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter10
Pages219-246
Number of pages28
Edition1st
ISBN (Print)9780198791201
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • war
  • international law
  • use of force
  • sovereign nation-statehood
  • territorial integrity
  • UN Charter
  • international relations
  • self-defence
  • humanitarian intervention
  • Responsibility to Protect doctrine

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