Recourse to Force: State Action against Threats and Armed Attacks

Recourse to Force: State Action against Threats and Armed Attacks

Recourse to Force: State Action against Threats and Armed Attacks

Recourse to Force: State Action against Threats and Armed Attacks

Synopsis

The United Nations Charter in 1945 prohibits all use of force by states except in the event of an armed attack or when authorized by the Security Council. Although the Charter is very hard to amend, its drafters agreed that it should be interpreted flexibly by the UN's principal political institutions and the text has undergone extensive interpretation. This book relates these changes in law and practice to changing public values pertaining to the balance between maintaining peace and promoting justice.

Excerpt

Chapter 1 has provided a brief synopsis of the origins of a post-war Charter-based system pertaining to the use of force in international affairs. For the first time, international law fully and formally embraced the Lauterpachtian ground-norm:“there shall be no violence. ” Article 2(4) obliges all member states to “refrain…fromthethreatoruseofforce”: not just to renounce war but all forms of interstate violence.

This dedication to non-violence by states is coupled in the Charter with an extensive commitment to collective measures against violators of the peace of nations. Article 39 authorizes the Security Council “to determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, ” and empower it to “make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken…to maintain or restore international peace and security. ” Article 25 requires all members of the United Nations to join in implementing such decisions. Finally, Article 42 authorizes the Council, lesser measures having failed, to “take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. ” To that end, Article 43 pledges all members “to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with a special agreement or agreements, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security. ”

This, then, was to have been the ultimate triumph of the Lauterpachtian ground-norm:there was to be no more violence. States abjured not only the right to make formal war, but all recourse to military force. Failure to adhere to this new law was to be met by decision of the . . .

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