Barely Borders: Issues of International Law
26 Harvard International Review 52 (2004)
6 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2013
Date Written: 2004
Was the US-led attack on Iraq justified? The question comes from all corners of the globe, and answers are varied. Our collective response should be to cooperate in thoughtfully examining the practical constraints and legal limits to military intervention. The issue is not black-and-white, but multifaceted, and only by addressing it head-on can our international community hope to reach a consensus that will cement genuine autonomous international security for all.
As a cornerstone of international law for more than 350 years, the principle of non-intervention protected a range of different interests. Originally, it protected the sovereign prerogatives of the crowned heads who ruled Europe. While monarchies are not totally obsolete, the principle of non-intervention is now more likely to protect the democratic systems of self-determination and popular sovereignty. It has always helped to promote international peace and stability by discouraging the use of force against the territorial sovereignty and political independence of states. Today, both the reasons for the principle and the necessary exceptions to it can best be understood in terms of human rights.
Keywords: international law, US, Iraq, intervention, non-intervention, self-determination, human rights, sovereignty, political independence
JEL Classification: K30, K33, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation