A Policy of Force

Bannelier, Christakis and Heathcote (eds) The ICJ and the Evolution of International Law (2012)

26 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2013

See all articles by Christine Gray

Christine Gray

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2011


The Corfu Channel case was the first decision of the ICJ, and the first to concern the use of force. In it the ICJ took a strict view of the new prohibition of the use of force and warned against a policy of force. This warning seems to have been forgotten by some states and commentators in recent years, but it is as important today as it was in 1949. This paper examines recent attempts by states and writers to justify a wide right to use force - in Kosovo (1999), in the doctrine of revived Security Council authorization to use force against Iraq (2003) and in pre-emptive self-defence. In so doing many of them echo the arguments of the UK in the Corfu Channel case. Such wide justifications for the resort to force can be seen as a policy of force; International law and policy do not support such claims.

Keywords: use of force, International Court of Justice

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Gray, Christine, A Policy of Force (December 1, 2011). Bannelier, Christakis and Heathcote (eds) The ICJ and the Evolution of International Law (2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2309305 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2309305

Christine Gray (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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