Legal Crisis Management: Lawfulness and Legitimacy of the Use of Force

Hanspeter Neuhold

in From Bilateralism to Community Interest

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588817
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725272 | DOI:
Legal Crisis Management: Lawfulness and Legitimacy of the Use of Force

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When governments consider the use of force in a crisis their decision will be determined by the perceived necessity to protect the supreme values and interests of their State and the international community, on the one hand, and the expected costs, on the other. Although they will prefer to act within the bounds of their legal obligations, respect for international law is unlikely to be a priority in such a situation. This chapter examines the justifications invoked by the US when it decided to employ force, going it alone or acting together with other States, in major post-Second World War international crises: in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962; against the Serb forces in Kosovo in 1999; against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001; and against the regime of President Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003. These four cases have been selected because in each of them the legal grounds on which the administrations in Washington DC relied were different, and in three of them the use of armed force was controversial.

Keywords: United States; international law; defence policy; use of force; crisis management; Kosovo; Saddam Hussein; Taliban; Al-Qaeda

Chapter.  10043 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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