The Question of Defining Aggression

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 Question of Defining Aggression

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This chapter addresses the meanings of the term ‘aggression’ in the state practice. It also considers the possibility of defining it, the ‘question of defining aggression’, which has been considered by numerous United Nations bodies. Mostly, it deals with the definition, in the wider sense of that word, of unlawful resort to force. The problem is deciding how far the validity of general and particular rules of the positive law depends on the success or otherwise of a quest for a definition of aggression. Discussion of the ‘definition of aggression’ is an important aid to more effective regulation of conflict, both armed and in other forms, but agreement on what is really a vast field of problems and not merely a definition can hardly be a sine qua non for acceptance of legal norms on the use of force by states.

Keywords: aggression; state practice; United Nations; positive law; legal norms

Chapter.  4536 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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