The International Wrongfulness of Unlawful Consensual Interventions
79 Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 667 (2019)
3 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2019 Last revised: 30 Nov 2019
Date Written: July 9, 2019
Recent years have witnessed an upsurge in the literature on the lawfulness, under international law, of forcible interventions in states upon governmental consent. The contemporary discussion mirrors, to an extent, the classic debate between those that view such interventions - at least when a certain level of conflict is reached - as strictly prohibited, and those that presume that in general, governments possess the power to invite external intervention, subject to certain limitations.
This brief contribution addresses a question which is frequently glossed over in the discussion: on either approach, what do we mean when we say that in a certain situation, an intervention is unlawful? Or, in other words, which international norm is violated when a consensual intervention is wrongful? As a point of departure, this contribution urges to distinguish between situations in which consent is void ab initio,and situations where the consent itself is valid, but the actions committed pursuant to it are unlawful. This is crucial since if consent lacks any legal effect, it could be said that the intervention violates the prohibition on the use of force. The contribution then offers a brief typology of circumstances that fall under these categories.
Keywords: use of force, international humanitarian law, law of armed conflict, jus ad bellum, aggression, international human rights law, state responsibility
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