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United States Violation of International Law in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq

CHALLENGES OF MULTI-LEVEL CONSTITUTIONALISM, Joakim Nergelius, Pasquale Policastro & Kenji Urata, eds., Polpress Publisher, pp. 233-249, 2004

TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-07

10 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2005 Last revised: 26 Mar 2009

Marjorie Cohn

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Abstract

NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, and the United States' 2001 war on Afghanistan, and its war on Iraq beginning in 2003, all violated international and United States law. None was prosecuted in self-defense, or with the approval of the Security Council - the only two instances in which a United Nations member state is permitted to use force. All three conflicts constituted wars of aggression. Aggressive war is prohibited by the Nuremberg Tribunal, and will eventually be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. The United States used cluster bombs and depleted uranium in all three countries, which violates Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions. Preemptive war and humanitarian intervention both violate the U.N. Charter. Forcible regime change is prohibited by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The targeting of civilian objects constitutes a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, which is prosecutable as a war crime.

Keywords: Ethnic cleansing, aggressive war, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, humanitarian intervention, Yugoslavia v. Belgium, Military and Paramilitary Activities, Case Concerning Legality of Use of Force, preemptive war, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Allied Force

Suggested Citation

Cohn, Marjorie, United States Violation of International Law in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. CHALLENGES OF MULTI-LEVEL CONSTITUTIONALISM, Joakim Nergelius, Pasquale Policastro & Kenji Urata, eds., Polpress Publisher, pp. 233-249, 2004; TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=787985

Marjorie Cohn (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4219 (Phone)

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