International Law and the Use of Force
AbstractThe use of military force is only lawful if and to the extent that it comes under an accepted exception to the general rule of prohibition outlined in the Charter of the United Nations (‘UN Charter’).1 This paper examines whether, in the absence of any explicit authorisation from the United Nations Security Council (‘UNSC’), international law allows a state to use military force to compel another into meeting its obligations. In particular, it considers the extension of the traditional, customary law doctrine of self-defence to include pre-emptive and anticipatory attacks. It will be argued that although future extension of the doctrine is inevitable, any broadening of the relevant international law principles must be approached prudently and with the greatest respect for the traditional strict approach.
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