Rationalising International Law Rules on Self-Defence: The Pin-Prick Doctrine
48 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2014 Last revised: 30 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 26, 2014
The pin-prick doctrine permits defensive uses of force in response to a continuing pattern of attacks providing objective proof of a future threat. It provides a necessary, possible and appropriate means of rationalising international law rules regulating the use of military force in self-defence. Recognition of the pin-prick doctrine in international law is necessary as a part of a broader exercise to rationalise international law rules on self-defence. The collective security system envisaged under the UN Charter has failed, leading to jus ad bellum rules that are unduly restrictive in the face of real and severe threats to the security of states. Thus, rationalisation is necessary to maintain the integrity of the system. Further, recognition of the pin-prick doctrine in international law is possible because it already enjoys widespread support in state and judicial practice. Moreover, recognition of the pin-prick doctrine in international law is appropriate because unlike other doctrines designed to rationalise Charter rules on self-defence (such as pre-emptive self-defence), the pin-prick doctrine does not unduly compromise the effectiveness of the Charter regime.
Keywords: International law, UN Charter, Jus ad bellum, Self-defence, Article 51, Pin-prick doctrine
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