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Part 1 The Cold War Era (1945–89), 13 The Intervention in Czechoslovakia—1968

Gerhard Hafner

From: The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach

Edited By: Tom Ruys, Olivier Corten, Alexandra Hofer

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 May 2024

Armed conflict, international — Necessity — Occupation — International law and international relations

This contribution discusses the intervention of five member states of the Warsaw Pact Organization under the leading role of the Soviet Union in the CSSR in August 1968, which terminated the “Prague Spring” in a forceful manner. After presenting the facts of this intervention and its reasons, it describes the legal positions of the protagonists of this intervention as well as that of the states condemning it, as presented in particular in the Security Council. It then examines the legality of this intervention against general international law and the particular views of the Soviet doctrine existing at that time, defending some sort of socialist (regional) international law. This case stresses the requirement of valid consent for the presence of foreign troops in a country and denies the legality of any justification solely based on the necessity to maintain the political system within a state.

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