The Right of Self-Defence in the Period after the Second World War

Ian Brownlie

in International Law and the Use of Force by States

Published in print March 1963 | ISBN: 9780198251583
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681332 | DOI:
The Right of Self-Defence in the Period after the Second World War

Show Summary Details


This chapter reports some key problems of the meaning of self-defence in the modern law, more especially in the context of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In particular, some suggestions are made as to the present state of the customary law, and the problems relating to anticipatory self-defence and proportionality are examined. Subsequently, the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter and the problems of interpretation to which they give rise are discussed. Finally, an attempt is made to establish the relation of Article 51 of the Charter and the customary law, with some indication of the effects which the article has had on recent state practice. It is stated by Article 51 that the right of self-defence stays unimpaired ‘if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations’. There is considerable justification for the conclusion that the right of self-defence, individual or collective, which has received general acceptance in the most recent period has a content identical with the right expressed in Article 51 of the Charter.

Keywords: United Nations Charter; modern law; proportionality; Article 51; customary law

Chapter.  15412 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.