Between Military Deployment and Democracy: Use of Force Under the German Constitution
Journal on the Use of Force and International Law, Vol. 5, Issue 2, pp. 246-294, 2018
Posted: 2 May 2018 Last revised: 10 Oct 2018
Date Written: May 2, 2018
The German regime on the use of military force provides an important reference point for legal comparison. In a seminal judgment of 1994, the Constitutional Court identified a constitution-based requirement for each military deployment to have parliamentary approval. The formalities of the involvement of the Bundestag were, in 2005, codified in a statute. Recent German participation in coalitions of the willing have raised the question whether such operations are still covered by the constitutional bases, and participation in anti-Islamic State action in Syria is currently under review by the Constitutional Court. The article concludes that the tension between the need to effectively integrate military forces into multinational operations, democratic accountability, and judicial oversight has been uniquely resolved in the German constitution and statutory and case law. It illustrates the feasibility of upholding standards of democracy and the rule of law in foreign and military affairs.
Keywords: system of collective security, self-defense, anti-terrorist action, parliamentary approval, NATO, deployment
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