The Perplexities of Modern International Law

By Shabtai Rosenne | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE USE OF FORCE

Qui desiderat pacem, preparet helium.

Vegetus, De re militari, 3, prol.

The Second World War, its atrocities and its scope, through the Charter of the United Nations adopted by the wartime fighting coalition led to three major developments in international law: (1) the formal prohibition on the use of armed force in any manner contrary to the Charter and its replacement by a system of collective security, the topic of this chapter; (2) the renewal and expansion of the former jus in bello, now known generally as international humanitarian law designed to regulate the conduct both of States and of individuals in an armed conflict, the topic of chapter V; and (3) the promotion and protection of human rights on a universal scale, addressed in chapter VI. Taken together these three aspects and their place in today's international relations are the major components of the complete change in international law produced in the twentieth century.


§ 4.01. International law and the use of force

The greatest dilemma facing the international lawyer and international law concerns the use of armed force. There is a widespread assumption that the Charter absolutely forbids the use of armed force. That is not the way the Charter puts it, at all events not in that bald form. Article 2 (3) imposes on the members of the UN the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. That is followed by Article 2 (4) by which:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force
against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other
manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

-109-

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