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Part 1 The Cold War Era (1945–89), 35 The US Strikes Against Libya—1986

Maurice Kamto

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: 25 May 2024

Self-defence — Protected persons and property — Warfare, air — UN Charter

This contribution discusses the US air strikes against Libya in 1986. It sets out the facts that led to the air strikes – notably the bombing of a West Berlin night club on 5 April 1986 –, the legal positions of the main protagonists (the US and Libya), and the international community’s reactions. It then tests the legality of the US strikes against the international legal framework governing the use of force as it stood at the time of the events, namely the rules governing the right to self-defence. The chapter concludes that the use of force in this particular case could not be convincingly justified under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

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