Use of Force

INTERNATIONAL LEGAL POSITIVISM IN A POSTMODERN WORLD, pp. 498-520, Jean d'Aspremont and Jörg Kammerhofer, eds, Cambridge University Press, 2014

15 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012 Last revised: 1 Apr 2015

See all articles by Christian J. Tams

Christian J. Tams

University of Glasgow, School of Law

Antonios Tzanakopoulos

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 3, 2012

Abstract

The paper assesses the legal regime governing recourse to force from the perspective of 'contemporary positivism'. It provides a basic introduction to positivist international law and its critique and charts how positivism, faced with decades of anti-positivist critique, has adjusted itself. More specifically, it analyses how in response to criticism, positivism has embraced a more 'liberal' approach to the identification of sources.

Applying these findings to the specific problem of military force, the paper outlines the main challenges facing a positivist understanding of the jus ad bellum. These are (i) the loss of predictability of the legal rules (''anything goes"), which is a consequence of the liberalisation of sources; and (ii) the attraction, even among positivist scholars, to invoke "quasi-legal" arguments based on legitimacy, morals or political necessity.

Keywords: jus ad bellum, use of force, UN Charter, humanitarian intervention, self-defence, positivism, method in international law, Security Council, General Assembly, United Nations, terrorism

JEL Classification: K33, K42, H77

Suggested Citation

Tams, Christian J. and Tzanakopoulos, Antonios, Use of Force (July 3, 2012). INTERNATIONAL LEGAL POSITIVISM IN A POSTMODERN WORLD, pp. 498-520, Jean d'Aspremont and Jörg Kammerhofer, eds, Cambridge University Press, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2099031

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/

Antonios Tzanakopoulos

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/people/antonios-tzanakopoulos

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