Humanitarian Intervention and the Clean Hands Doctrine in International Law
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
February 9, 2014
48 Israel Law Review (2015, Forthcoming)
A serious problem that has confronted the international community is the legality of humanitarian intervention. Though the majority of scholars reject the existence a humanitarian intervention doctrine, could the attacked state invoke the responsibility of an intervening state in an international tribunal? This article attempts to answer to this question in light of the often misunderstood clean hands doctrine in international law. It first concludes that under the lex lata, humanitarian intervention is prohibited under international law. This raises the question whether the clean hands doctrine can nevertheless preclude a court or tribunal from adjudicating in favour of a state that has been subject to humanitarian intervention. Though the clean hands doctrine exists under international law in various manifestations, its applicability in cases concerning humanitarian intervention is lacking. The article finally considers whether the jus cogens status of the prohibition of the use of force would prevent the applicability of the clean hands doctrine to humanitarian intervention cases, were the clean hands doctrine to evolve into a customary international legal norm.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Humanitarian intervention, Clean hands, Procedural rules, Normative hierarchy
Date posted: February 10, 2014 ; Last revised: April 15, 2015
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