The Clean Hands Doctrine in International Law and Humanitarian Intervention
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
February 9, 2014
In the current age of perplexity of international law, a serious problem that has confronted the international community is the legality of humanitarian intervention -- the use of force to prevent serious violations of human rights. Though the majority of scholars reject the existence of the right to practice humanitarian intervention, could the attacked state invoke the responsibility of the intervening state in an international tribunal?
This article attempts to find the answer to this question in light of the often misunderstood, misinterpreted and overlooked clean hands doctrine in international law. It first examines the relationship between procedural norms -- among which the clean hands doctrine may be categorized -- and substantive norms. It continues to examine the degree of existence, vel non, of the clean hands doctrine in international law, as the term is understood in international legal discourse. Following, it seeks to determine the doctrine's applicability to instances of humanitarian intervention in light of the lex lata. Finally, an assessment of future potential uses of the clean hands doctrine in the context of humanitarian intervention is conducted.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Clean hands, International law, Procedural norms, Use of force, Humanitarian intervention, customary international lawworking papers series
Date posted: February 10, 2014 ; Last revised: July 11, 2014
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