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The Right of Third States to Take Countermeasures

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the topic of "countermeasures" resorted to by third States, that is, States whose own legal position is not affected in the conventional sense, in response to violations of jus cogens or of obligations erga omnes. The appropriateness and significance of the concept of "countermeasures" is controversial among experts of international law, but if we understand it in the broad sense, the discussion must be taken to apply to all possible reactions open to third States in order to urge a violating State to end its breach of the law, to provide reparation to the State that is actually the victim of this breach and, where appropriate, to guarantee that the breach will not be repeated. These would include diplomatic demarches, retorsion, and reprisals. In addition, these reactions would also include collective self-defence as a military response to an armed attack in violation of international law.

Keywords: collective self-defence; diplomatic demarches; international law; reprisals; retorsion; third States



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