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The Phantom of the Neo-Global Era: International Law and the Implications of Non-State Terrorism on the Nexus of Self-Defense and the Use of Force

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Chapter Summary

International law and practice regarding the use of force is currently in flux. First, author argues that the right of self-defense is not qualified by the identity of the attacker. Therefore, a state victim of a non-state terrorist attack may invoke its inherent right of self-defense. Second, he will argue that, even assuming a state's inherent right of self-defense may be invoked following an armed terrorist attack, it must be qualified or limited in order to respect, to some extent, the sovereign rights of the origin state, and to protect the civilians therein. It is important to bear in mind that most claims of self-defense arise in circumstances that are less than clear cut. The traditional self-defense parameter of proportionality is especially important in this particular context. Proportionality requires that only measures necessary to respond to and neutralize the threat are utilized and that excessive use of force is avoided.

Keywords: armed terrorist attack; self-defense; sovereign rights



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