Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Humanitarian Intervention without the Security Council: From San Francisco to Kosovo – and Beyond

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Nordic Journal of International Law

Against the background of NATO's war over Kosovo in 1999, this article deals with legal and legal-political aspects of humanitarian intervention without authorisation from the UN Security Council – an issue elucidating the foundations of international law and the role of state practice in its dynamic development. It is argued that unauthorised humanitarian intervention has no legal basis in current international law: It is incompatible with Article 2(4) of the Charter, the defence of a state of necessity is not applicable and no doctrine of unauthorised humanitarian intervention has been established under customary international law. From a legal-political perspective, the crucial question is whether to develop a doctrine of humanitarian intervention without the Security Council if necessary, or stick to the existing legal order, maintaining the Security Council as the sole authoritative organ for decision-making on humanitarian intervention, while working to make it more effective. The author favours the latter alternative. However, in the short term, an ad hoc ``emergency exit'' may be needed. The special circumstances precluding wrongfulness, such as state necessity, it is argued, are not a conceptually suitable framework for justifying humanitarian intervention. But unauthorised humanitarian intervention could be undertaken ad hoc, as a deviation from international law justified solely on moral grounds. This leaves open an option for intervention in extreme cases of human suffering, but at the same time avoids jeopardising the existing, hard-earned, international legal order and the central role of the Security Council. NATO's war over Kosovo, it is argued, was such a case of ad hoc intervention on moral grounds. The article assesses the legal-political consequences of this approach in the aftermath of NATO's bombing campaign.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Nordic Journal of International Law — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation