The Urgent Imperative of Peace
Seeking Accountability for the Unlawful Use of Force (Leila Nadya Sadat, ed., Cambridge 2017), Forthcoming
38 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2017 Last revised: 22 Feb 2018
Date Written: September 25, 2017
This essay challenges the prevailing view of much recent use of force scholarship in the United States that supports the use of a self-defense exception to justify U.S. military action all over the world since 9/11, arguing that instead the traditional framework of the UN Charter provides the appropriate legal framework. The essay notes the slide by US Presidents since 9/11, including Barack Obama, into increasingly aggressive and unmoored understandings of constraints on jus ad bellum rules, and the tendency of the current US President, Donald Trump, to threaten to -- and use -- force unlawfully in violation of international law and with potentially catastrophic consequences. The essay takes issue with scholars arguing that this "perpetual war" is now the new standard and discusses efforts to push back against this slide into unlawfulness including the activation of the aggression amendments of the International Criminal Court Statute, and the adoption of a new treaty banning the use and possession of nuclear weapons, which opened for signature on September 20, 2017.
Keywords: Use of Force, International Humanitarian Law, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear War, Mushroom Cloud, International Criminal Court, Aggression, Crimes Against Humanity, UN Charter, September 11 Attacks, Terrorism, International Court of Justice
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