The Light Treatment of a Complex Problem: The Law of Self-Defence in the Israeli Wall Case

19 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2009

See all articles by Christian J. Tams

Christian J. Tams

University of Glasgow, School of Law

Date Written: June 3, 2009

Abstract

In its recent Israeli Wall opinion, the International Court of Justice gave rather short shrift to Israel’s claims that the construction of the wall could be justified as an act of self-defence in the sense of Art. 51 UNC. This comment assesses the Court’s approach and places it in the broader context of ICJ pronouncements on the use of force. It suggests that the Court failed to appreciate the complex legal problems to which Israel’s claim gave rise, in particular the problem of self-defence against attacks by non-State actors. It shows that the Court’s restrictive understanding of self-defence, while following the 1986 merits judgment in the Nicaragua case, is difficult to bring in line with modern State practice, and increases the pressure to admit other, non-written, exceptions to Art. 2(4) UNC.

Suggested Citation

Tams, Christian J., The Light Treatment of a Complex Problem: The Law of Self-Defence in the Israeli Wall Case (June 3, 2009). European Journal of International Law, Vol. 16, pp. 963-978, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1413895

Christian J. Tams (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow, School of Law ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/law/staff/christiantams/

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