For weeks, the air strikes that NATO executed in defence of the ‘safe area’ of Sarajevo were ‘hot news’. The fact that NATO would, eventually, execute these strikes had seemed inevitable for some time. The well-informed observer had sufficient indications to this effect via television and the newspapers. However, the media, and all of the debates in national parliaments, have never, or have scarcely, addressed the legal basis for these strikes. At first sight, this appeared to be a relatively simple question, since NATO repeatedly stressed that it was acting on a mandate from the UN Security Council. At a second glance, however, the legal basis of the NATO actions gives rise to a number of questions for which the answers are less easy to ascertain.