Posted: 27 Oct 2008
Date Written: Spring 2008
Traditional state v state war is largely a relic. How then does a nation-state defend itself, pre-emptively, against an unseen enemy? Existing international law-the Caroline Doctrine, UN Charter Article 51, Security Council Resolutions 1368 and 1373-does not provide sufficiently clear guidelines regarding when a state may take pre-emptive or anticipatory action against a non-state actor. This article proposes rearticulating international law to allow a state to act earlier provided sufficient intelligence is available. After examining international law, this article proposes a process-based ‘strict scrutiny’ approach to self-defence. Under this approach, the executive will have to convince a court, based on relevant, reliable, viable and corroborated intelligence, that pre-emptive action is appropriate. This process leads to a check on the power of the executive by placing a judicial check on pre-emptive action, consequently establishing objective legal criteria for operational counterterrorism.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Guiora, Amos N., Anticipatory Self-Defence and International Law-A Re-Evaluation (Spring 2008). Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Vol. 13, Issue 1, pp. 3-24, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1289155 or http://dx.doi.org/krn017