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Part 1 The Cold War Era (1945–89), 31 South African Incursions into Lesotho—1982

Theresa Reinold

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: 27 May 2024

Self-defence — UN Charter — Armed attack

This chapter discusses the legality of South Africa’s incursion in Lesotho in 1982. After describing the facts of the case, it presents the legal arguments of the main protagonists – South Africa and Lesotho - and canvasses the positions taken by the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, as well as other important diplomatic players. It then assesses the legality of the intervention and discusses its impact on the progressive development of international law. It concludes that the incursion violated Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and that, in light of the overwhelmingly negative international reaction, the raid could not trigger an expanded reading of the right to self-defense, as was claimed by South Africa.

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