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6 - The use of force

normative ebb and flow

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2013

Jutta Brunnée
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
Stephen J. Toope
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
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Summary

Introduction

In 2005, in an ‘Outcome Document’ encapsulating the results of a sweeping debate on UN reform, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) purported to restate the UN Charter framework on the non-use of force in international relations. The UNGA reaffirmed ‘that the relevant provisions of the Charter are sufficient to address the full range of threats to international peace and security. We further reaffirm the authority of the Security Council to mandate coercive action to maintain and restore international peace and security.’ This sanguine conclusion was surprising given that only two years earlier, at the height of debates over the prosecution of the second Iraq war, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, had opined that the organization and its members were confronting a ‘fork in the road’ as concerns the prohibition on the use of force, and its exceptions.

Debates surrounding the second Iraq war prompted a range of commentators to diagnose the death of the law on the use of force, to call for its adaptation to the globalization of threats and the problem of so-called failed states, and to assert the need to either overturn or defend the UN Charter framework. Our aim in this chapter is not to evaluate in detail the legality of the Iraq war. Others have done so thoroughly. Rather, we are interested in using this intense period of debate as an entry point into the examination of how legal norms are created, upheld, solidified, challenged, and destroyed. In so doing, we will employ the interactional law framework to demonstrate how legal norms operate when confronting problems close to the heart of state interest and state sovereignty. Some shifts in the rules governing the use of force have occurred, but eight years after the events of 11 September 2001 it is evident that they are far less dramatic than anticipated by many commentators. Our framework helps to explain why.

Type
Chapter
Information
Legitimacy and Legality in International Law
An Interactional Account
, pp. 271 - 349
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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References

Kritsiotis, D., ‘Arguments of Mass Confusion’ (2004) 15 European Journal of International Law 233CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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  • The use of force
  • Jutta Brunnée, University of Toronto, Stephen J. Toope, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Legitimacy and Legality in International Law
  • Online publication: 05 July 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511781261.008
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  • The use of force
  • Jutta Brunnée, University of Toronto, Stephen J. Toope, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Legitimacy and Legality in International Law
  • Online publication: 05 July 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511781261.008
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • The use of force
  • Jutta Brunnée, University of Toronto, Stephen J. Toope, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Legitimacy and Legality in International Law
  • Online publication: 05 July 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511781261.008
Available formats
×