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14 The Individual Use of Force in International Law

From: Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It

Rosalyn Higgins

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 11 December 2023

Collective security — Self-defence — Reprisals — Armed forces — Use of force, prohibition — Self-determination — Humanitarian intervention — Armed attack — Use of force, threat — National liberation movements
Since earliest times states have employed military force to pursue their political and economic objectives. As early as the fifteenth century, Grotius insisted that the law of nations limited the use of force to three justifiable causes: ‘defence, recovery of property, and punishment.’1 In that particular sense, it was necessary to restrict the use of force to a just war.2 The Covenant of the League of Nations sought further to control and contain the use of force, without prohibiting it.3 The Kellogg—Briand Pact of 1928 outlawed war as an instrument of national...
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