The Legality and Legitimacy of Using Armed Force for the Protection of Strangers: From Humanitarian Intervention to the Responsibility to Protect
The ceaseless State-made humanitarian atrocities in the past decades toll the bell for the whole international community to take a responsibility. The traditional doctrine of humanitarian intervention encourages States or States groups to use armed force in a foreign territory for the protection of civilians of the targeted State. This doctrine has lived through a long history of international relations, from an age when States-resorting-to-war was legal to the time when the use of force is generally prohibited by international law. The legality of humanitarian intervention is quite controversial under the modern international law since 1945. On the one hand, the UN Charter lays down strict rules of lawful use of force; on the other hand, State practice of humanitarian intervention in the new era always lead to intense debate about whether humanitarian considerations can serve as a justification for military intervention in a sovereign State. However, hardly there is a universal consensus among States and scholars on this question. After the Cold War, a new form of humanitarian intervention, authorized by the UN Security Council, comes into the cause of international society, which is generally recognized as a lawful use of force. In the beginning of the new millennium, the emerging concept of Responsibility to Protect, which inherits the core spirit of humanitarian intervention—using armed force for the protection of strangers, has been quickly recognized by most States. This paper is going to assess the legality of humanitarian intervention by examine both the treaty laws and customary international law. Also, it attempts to address the legitimacy issue of using armed force for the protection of strangers without the Security Council authorization, by going through the changing position of the major States in this regard, especially those which always against.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
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