Swimming with the Tide, or Seeking to Stem It? Recent ICJ Rulings on the Law of Self-Defence

Revue Québécoise de Droit International, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 275-290, 2005

20 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2009

See all articles by Christian J. Tams

Christian J. Tams

University of Glasgow, School of Law

Date Written: June 3, 2009

Abstract

This note assesses two recent rulings by the International Court of Justice: the advisory opinion in the Israeli Wall case and the judgment in Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (DRC v Uganda). It analyses their effect on the legal rules governing the use of force, and the question of self-defence against non-State actors in particular. It argues that in the Israeli Wall opinion, the Court failed to confront an emerging (and relevant) body of international practice allowing self-defence against attacks by non-State actors. It views the more pragmatic approach taken in Congo-Uganda as an attempt to move away from the strict approach adopted in the Wall opinion. Looking at the judges' individual opinions, it suggests that even within the International Court, there is now a willingness to extend self-defence to attacks by non-State actors.

Keywords: self-defence, self-defence against non-State actors, use of force, terrorism, International Court of Justice, Israeli Wall opinion, Congo-Uganda case, UN Charter

Suggested Citation

Tams, Christian J., Swimming with the Tide, or Seeking to Stem It? Recent ICJ Rulings on the Law of Self-Defence (June 3, 2009). Revue Québécoise de Droit International, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 275-290, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1413941

Christian J. Tams (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow, School of Law ( email )

Stair Building
5 - 8 The Square
Glasgow, Scotland G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

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

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