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A Revival of the Just War Theory?

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Chapter Summary

A new interest in just war theory has been prompted by pressures to justify, in legal terms, forms of armed attack or forcible intervention lying outside, or at the margins of, the uses of armed force in international relations allowed by orthodox interpretations of the United Nations Charter and customary international law. Although, the chapter is concerned principally with the jus ad bellum, there is a connection with the jus in bello in that one commonly accepted proposition of just war theory is that a use of force is not justified where the necessary means to be employed to achieve the object would be inherently excessive or indiscriminate. The author argues that the attack on Iraq in March 2003 has been shown to have been illegal after the event and that he is justified by legal opinions to that effect to disobey what, to him, have become unlawful commands.

Keywords: jus ad bellum; armed force; customary international law; humanitarian intervention; Iraq; just war theory; United Nations Charter



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