Responsibility for Coups d'Etat in International Law

26 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2010 Last revised: 1 Jan 2013

See all articles by Jean d'Aspremont

Jean d'Aspremont

Sciences Po Law School; University of Manchester - School of Law

Date Written: June 2, 2010


It is the aim of this article to demonstrate that the impact of coups d’état in international political discourse outweighs actual consequences under the law of responsibility in international law. This article argues that - leaving aside the hypothesis of effective control by a foreign state - coups d’état, despite being systematically condemned in political discourse, do not engage the responsibility of any state as they cannot be attributed to any international legal subject. The article however argues that coups can constitute preparatory actions to a subsequent internationally wrongful act.

Keywords: International Law, Coup d'Etat, Democracy, Elections, Change of Government, State Responsibility, Attribution, International Law Commission, Rebellion, Insurgency, Control, Organ

Suggested Citation

d'Aspremont, Jean, Responsibility for Coups d'Etat in International Law (June 2, 2010). Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 451-475, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Jean D'Aspremont (Contact Author)

Sciences Po Law School ( email )

13 rue de l'université
Paris, 75007


University of Manchester - School of Law ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
United Kingdom


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