Permissive Law on the International Use of Force
Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 2015.
8 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016
Date Written: January 18, 2016
The Charter of the United Nations provide the inescapable framework, both normative and legal, for the international regulation for inter-state violence. All international uses of force take place under its light. Its political effects are however the opposite of what is often assumed: this essay suggests that the Charter’s contribution is as much about endorsing international war as it is about restraining it. In providing the legal language of 'self-defense' within which states conduct their wars, the Charter becomes an instrument which states can use to legitimize their military operations through law. It authorizes states to engage in war, and defines the circumstances under which they can call it lawful. I use this to demonstrate an approach to the political contribution of international law that connects law with power — legal power, state power, and political authority — and which contradicts both the liberal internationalist and realist accounts of legalization in international relations theory.
Keywords: international law, use of force, UN Charter, Article 51, self-defense, the ban on war, international politics
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