In 2002 the US expanded Article 51 of the UN Charter to include the right of self-defense to prevent hostile attacks. In light of the changing security imperatives, the adequacy of international law on self-defense is examined, citing the 183 Caroline Case and Nicaragua vs. USA. Preemptive self-defense is assumed in customary international law, but the UN Charter excluded it as destabilizing. The line between preemptory and responsive is a matter of interpretation, and action may be so preemptory as to not be self-defense but preventive war. It is argued that alternatives to Article 51 have not yet been devised and that the Article already provides sufficiently flexible guidance for new threats and challenges like Al-Qaeda. Self-defense against non-state actors and new technologies are discussed.
Part of a symposium on David Rodin's War and Self-Defense (New York: Oxford U Press, 2003) argues the despite some laudable achievements, his rejection of a plausible version of national self-defense fails. His conclusions ultimately do not hold up because of two transitions in his arguments: the move from individual to national self-defense & from the absence of world government to the illegitimacy of self-help. Focus is on liberal arguments for self-defense, whereby self-defense is the protection of vital rights or interests of individuals. Asserting that Rodin is right in rebuffing efforts to reduce self-defense to a collection of individual rights of self-defense, it is suggested that permissibility to kill in a defensive war can be rooted in a richer form of liberalism that he overlooked: self-defense wars are carried out by governments as agents of the citizens. Rodin's two reasons for rejecting the liberal view -- that it is wrong to consider humanitarian intervention & self-defense as having the same underlying rationale & use of force against a bloodless invasion is not warranted -- are countered. While Rodin sees that much of what is deemed self-defense is really law enforcement, he fails to connect the idea to the international system, which, although regulated by laws, lacks a superior authority to enforce them. Rodin asserts that under these circumstances, self-help is never justified, which is seen here as implausible. Further, Rodin's notion of proportionality means a state is not justified to defend against an invader looking to destroy the political system as opposed to the peoples; this is patently rejected. It is concluded that Rodin takes the analogy between individual & national self-defense too seriously. J. Zendejas
Self-defense on the international level is generally regarded, at least by international lawyers, as a legal right defined and legitimated by international law. Governments, by and large, appear to agree. When they have used force, they have nearly always claimed self-defense as their legal justification. Governments disputing that claim have usually asserted that the legal conditions of self-defense were not met in the particular case. However, despite the apparent agreement that self-defense is governed by law, the meaning and validity of that proposition remain open to question. There are some who challenge the basic idea that the security of a state—its self-preservation—can and should be subjected to international law. Others question whether under present conditions the ideal of a rule of law can be applied on the international level to national security decisions. My aim in this essay is to explore some aspects of the problem raised by these challenges to the applicability of international law to claims of self-defense. It is not my intention, I should add, to consider specific interpretations of self-defense.
In War and Self-Defense David Rodin uncovers many flaws of current thinking about war. Rodin correctly points out that the justification of national self-defense goes beyond the justification of individual self-defense. He accurately rejects the standard notion of moral symmetry—the accepted view that both just and unjust warriors can permissibly kill enemies as long as they observe the laws of war. Rodin vindicates the right view: if a war is unjust, each and every injury caused by the unjust warrior is a criminal act. There are no morally justified killings by those who fight unjust wars. Further, Rodin rightly rejects various holistic theories of self-defense. Last but not least, he correctly denounces what I have called the Hegelian Myth, the idea that tyrannical governments are worth defending against interventions aimed at deposing them because they are protected by the principle of sovereignty.
Introduction -- The right to personal self-defense as a general principle of law -- A human right to self-defense? -- Defensive force by law enforcement agents -- Personal self-defense in military-led operations -- Human rights standards for self-defense between private persons -- Self-defense against the state - resistance against human rights violations -- The right to personal self-defense in a rechtsstaat - final reflections
International law and the struggle for world peace -- The Treaty of Versailles as a tentative trial run -- The UN Charter regime on the use of force -- Key challenges to the general prohibition on the use of force -- The right of self-defense -- The crime of aggression -- Can collective security work? -- Terrorism, international law, and the use of force -- Was the U.S. invasion of Iraq legal?
The book examines the development of the right of self-defence in international law both as an introduction to the subject and as a critical consideration of its central themes and debates. Special emphasis is laid on the development since 9/11. The right of self-defence is analysed from the point of view of international and constitutional law as well as from the perspective of state practice. The key question the book attempts to answer is whether a state can lawfully invoke its right of self-defence to fight non-state actors. The book appeals to all international lawyers, academics, students, and practitioners, as well as those interested in politics and international relations. (Quelle: Text Verlagseinband / Verlag)