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In a recent issue of this Journal, Daniel Bethlehem proposed a set of principles on the scope of a state’s right of self-defense against an imminent or actual armed attack by nonstate actors. In response, this essay seeks to assess Bethlehem’s proposition in principle 12 that a state may use force against nonstate actors on the territory of another state without the consent of the territorial state when the territorial state is not responsible for the initial attack and when the attack cannot be imputed to the territorial state. This description might be termed the non-consenting innocent state problem.
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