Interpreting Intervention

Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 39, pp. 333-369, 2001

37 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2010

See all articles by Craig Scott

Craig Scott

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: September, 10 2010


The present article, written in May 2001, discusses the significance for the doctrine of humanitarian intervention of the normative signaling practices that transpired throughout the 1990s with respect to the use of military force outside of explicit authorization by UN Security Council resolutions. The first part of the article analyses the sociological and legal-theoretical dimensions of the relationship between interpretation of Security Council resolutions and the interpretive evolution of the UN Charter. Iraq and Kosovo then provide the focus for contextualizing the analysis. The article ends with an account of the interplay of the powers of the General Assembly and of the Security Council, and the role a General Assembly Declaration on Interventions for Human Security could play in providing normative baselines for interpreting the scope of Security Council resolutions concerning humanitarian crises. The piece emerged from an address given in Tokyo at was written before the events of September 11, 2001, as well as before the release of the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty in December 2001.

Keywords: Humanitarian Intervention, Military Force, UN, UN Security Council, Iraq, Kosovo

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Scott, Craig M., Interpreting Intervention (September, 10 2010). Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 39, pp. 333-369, 2001. Available at SSRN:

Craig M. Scott (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )



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