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J.-J. Rousseau and the Law of Armed Force

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Chapter Summary

Legal orders have not learned how to cope without authorising, and thus regulating, the use of force, including armed force. At the international level, wars used to be considered a legitimate means of resolving disputes, even outside situations of selfdefence. This chapter discusses the writings of J.-J. Rousseau. The observations of Rousseau on the nature of war and the conduct of hostilities have not escaped the attention of international lawyers. His comments on the avoidance of war and armed force and the possibilities of guaranteeing a perpetual peace have received much less attention. The chapter also discusses the relevance of Rousseau for both the ius in bello and the ius ad bellum. Finally, it made some comments on the relation between the two concepts as they stand today, in the broader context of international law and international human rights law.

Keywords: armed force; international human rights law; international law; international lawyers; J.-J. Rousseau



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