Use of Force


Use of Force | Research Guide International law

Cornerstone to the prohibition of the resort to war - nowadays a principle of international law - is the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War or Kellogg Briand Pact (1928). This treaty entered into force at 24 July 1929 and is still in force and widely accepted. Although the League of Nations system did not prohibit war or the Use of Force but restricted it to tolerable levels, article 2(4) of the UN-Charter prohibits the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconstistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
In case of aggression by one nation-State against another, the United Nations Security Council is authorized under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to allow member states to take all necessary measures to maintain international peace and security. Some examples of Use of Force short of war: economic sanctions, boycott, pacific blockade, embargo, retorsion and reprisals.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on the Use of Force. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's classification index code 199. Causes of War; Its Lawfulness; Theory of Aggression and subject heading (keyword) Use of Force are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.

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  • Yoo, J., Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare, New York, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Yoo, J., Point of Attack : Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare, New York, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Point of Attack argues that the time has come to replace the international rules of war. Current law permits nations to resort to force only in self-defense or under UN authority, which perversely allows mass civilian killings, civil wars, weapons proliferation, and terrorism to run rampant. A new approach should allow the great powers to intervene when a war would benefit global welfare more than the costs.

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  • Roscini, M., Cyber Operations and the Use of Force in International Law, New York, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Roscini, M., Cyber Operations and the Use of Force in International Law, New York, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    The internet has changed the rules of many industries, and war is no exception. But can a computer virus be classed as an act of war? Does a Denial of Service attack count as an armed attack? And does a state have a right to self-defence when cyber attacked? With the range and sophistication of cyber operations against states dramatically increasing in recent times, Dr Marco Roscini’s timely book investigates the traditional concepts of ‘use of force’, ‘armed attack’ and ‘armed conflict’ and, through a comprehensive analysis of primary documents as well as through an extensive literature search, asks whether and how existing laws created in the analogue age can be applied in a digital age.

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  • Neri, K., L'emploi de la force en mer, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2013.

    Neri, K., L'emploi de la force en mer, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2013.

    Le droit international contemporain se trouve face à un défi majeur : assurer la sécurité et la liberté des espaces maritimes, alors que l’on y observe une recrudescence des activités illicites ou dangereuses. L’étude s’inscrit dans le cadre de ce défi et tente de cerner la problématique de l’emploi de la force en mer afin de lutter contre ces activités. Dans le contexte du développement et de la mise en oeuvre de pouvoirs de police dans les zones maritimes, l’ouvrage démontre l’ambivalence de la police internationale relative à la mer. Il est caractérisé par une double juxtaposition entre l’objet de l’emploi de la force en mer (activités illicites de personnes privées ou actes illicites des états) et entre les acteurs chargés de lutter contre l’illicite en mer.

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  • Alder, M.C., The Inherent Right of Self-Defence in International Law, Dordrecht, Springer, 2013.

    Alder, M.C., The Inherent Right of Self-Defence in International Law, Dordrecht, Springer, 2013.

    Also available as Fulltext e-book inside Peace Palace Library

    Determining the earliest point in time at which international law authorises a state to exercise its inherent right of self-defence is an issue which has been debated, but unsatisfactorily reasoned, by scholars and states since the 1960’s. Yet it remains arguably the most pressing question of law that faces the international community. This book unravels the legal and factual complications which have obscured the answer to this question. In contrast to most other works, it takes an historic approach by tracing the evolution of the rights, rules and principles of international law which have governed the use of force by states since the 16th century. Its emphasis on self-defence provides the reader with a new and complete understanding of how and why the international legal framework limits defensive force to repelling an imminent threat or use of offensive force which is directed at the territory of a state.

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  • Coalition against Islamic State: Too Many Obstacles?

    After weeks of fighting, Islamic State succeeded in taking over the Iraqi city of Ramadi and it currently controls large parts of the al-Anbar province, which borders on Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Almost 25,000 residents have fled Ramadi. This week Islamic State also overran Syrian government troops to seize Palmyra (Homs province, Syria), home to the ruins of a 2,000-year-old city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.The U.N. human rights office in Geneva said a third of Palmyra’s 200,000 residents may have fled the fighting in the past few days.

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  • Drones Deployed during War raise Various Legal and Ethical Questions

    Drones can be used for many different purposes. The use of drones raises various legal and ethical questions ranging from humanitarian to privacy issues. The Peace and Security Salon of 9 April discussed these questions in the context of the deployment of armed drones and robots during wartime. Three specialists each discussed the use of drones from a different background.

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  • Drones and Robots as Means of Modern Warfare

    Several aspects of autonomous weapons systems and the deployment of drones during warfare will be discussed during the upcoming Peace and Security Salon: “Drones and Robots as means of modern warfare” which will be held at the Peace Palace Library on Thursday, the 9th of april. The use of drones as a weapons system has increased exponentially in recent years and this has given rise to a significant degree of controversy and a number of specific questions relating to their use. Questions which arise in relation to drones and autonomous weapons systems include whether they are in conformity with or potentially capable of complying with IHL requirements in conditions of contemporary warfare, issues of accountability and responsibility and ethical questions.

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  • Extending the Coalition against Islamic State

    Yesterday, Turkey’s parliament has backed a motion that could allow its military to enter Iraq and Syria to join the campaign against Islamic State (IS) militants. While Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar have quickly joined the bombing campaign, Washington’s traditional Western allies had been slow to answer the call from U.S. President Barack Obama. France was the first Western country to respond, but this week national parliaments in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia have approved to join the global coalition against Islamic State too.

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  • ICC to Investigate War Crimes in Gaza?

    On July 23, Navi Pillay, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, suggested that attacks on civilians by both Israel and Hamas may have violated international law “in a manner that could amount to war crimes.” Senior British lawyers have written to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, urging it to investigate “crimes” committed in Gaza, including the destruction of homes, hospitals and schools. The lawyers say that it is within the ICC’s jurisdiction to act because the government of Palestine made a declaration in 2009 accepting the court’s role and the UN has since acknowledged Palestine as a non-member observer state.

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  • Hague Academy Model United Nations on Drone Warfare and International Law

    Directed energy weapons, drones, self targeting bullets, mobile tactical high energy lasers, military robots, spy weapons, weapons undetectable under an x-ray scan, remote controlled insect armies, self driving tanks, robotic mules, thermal camouflage, surveillance technologies and autonomous unmanned systems are some examples of the high tech weapons and military technology that are now used during warfare. The use of this state of the art military technology raises serious ethical and legal questions: (when) is the use of drones acceptable?

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  • Hamas versus Israel : Gaza dangerzone again

    The military leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Ahmed Jabari, has been assassinated in an Israeli air strike in Gaza. Who is the initial aggressor in this particular case? Peace negotiations with Hamas resulted in a ceasefire on November 21, at 9 pm., which has been respected so far.

    Both parties claim the victory.

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  • The Legality of Drone Attacks

    According to a recent report by Stanford and New York Universities’ law schools (Living Under Drones), the current US drone strike policy is counterproductive, has injured and killed civilians and undermines respect for international law. This blog explores briefly both the ius ad bellum and ius in bello implications of drone attacks.

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  • Conference about ICJ's judgment in the case between Nicaragua and the USA

    In 1986, the International Court of Justice issued its judgment on the merits in a dispute between Nicaragua and the United States of America. Twenty-five years later, members of the legal teams of both Nicaragua and the United States faced each other once again in the Peace Palace.

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  • Georgia on his mind. From R2P toR2I?

    Russia always maintained that its intervention in Georgia was justified by the principle of “responsibility to protect” (R2P).
    Russian President Medvedev, also supreme military commander, introduced an amendment to the Russian defense Law to allow Russian armed forces to intervene beyond Russian borders.

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  • UN report accuses Israel of recklessness in Gaza

    A U.N. inquiry accused Israel on Tuesday 5 May of gross negligence and recklessness in attacks on U.N. property in the Gaza strip during fighting between the Jewish state and Palestinian militants in January (see the article of Patrick Worsnip in Reuters).
    An article of the Guardian by Ed Pilkington (New York) and Rory McCarthy in (Jerusalem) at Tuesday 5 May 2009 reports that: “The summary of the UN report, commissioned by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, censured the Israeli government for causing death, injuries and damage to UN property in seven incidents involving action by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

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See also

More Research guides on War, Peace and Security

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