Yugoslavia V. Nato, Security Council Resolution 1244, and the Law of Humanitarian Intervention
Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, Vol. 27, No. 1, p. 77, 2000
26 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2003 Last revised: 14 Oct 2008
In this article, Professor Schwabach examines the increasing acceptance of the doctrine of humanitarian intervention since the 1999 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) war against Yugoslavia. The article discusses recent political and legal awareness of human rights violations as a justification for the use of military force and focuses on the United Nations Security Council's endorsement of use of force for humanitarian intervention, particularly through Resolution 1244. The article explains that prior to Resolution 1244, the U.N. favored state sovereignty over human rights concerns. However, developments after the 1999 war imply that humanitarian intervention is likely to be accepted as a rule of international law.
After the 1999 war, Yugoslavia brought suit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against ten NATO members. This article explains that the ICJ effectively sidestepped the human rights issue by denying the applications on jurisdictional grounds. Individual judges' statements in dicta, however, as detailed in the article, indicate tolerance of NATO's actions and suggest potential acceptance of humanitarian intervention.
Professor Schwabach concentrates on Yugoslavia's application against Belgium because Belgium advocates a change in international law that would grant human rights equal status with sovereign state rights. The article expresses hopes that a decision in Yugoslavia v. Belgium will clarify the rule of humanitarian intervention, but warns against possible misuse of the doctrine.
Keywords: Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Serbia, NATO, United Nations, Security Council, International Court of Justice, humanitarian intervention, genocide, customary international law
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation