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Part 2 The Post-Cold War Era (1990–2000), 47 The Kosovo Crisis—1999

Daniel Franchini, Antonios Tzanakopoulos

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

Precedent — International law and international relations — Humanitarian intervention

This contribution discusses the forcible intervention by NATO against Serbia in 1999 in response to the situation in Kosovo. It sets out the facts and background of the crisis, along with the legal positions of the main protagonists and the reactions of the international community. It then proceeds to survey the debates surrounding the legality of the intervention and to assess the soundness of the legal justifications put forward by states and authors. Finally, it discusses the precedential value of the intervention, especially in view of claims of the existence or emergence of a rule or principle of international law permitting the unilateral use of force in response to humanitarian crises. The contribution concludes that the NATO intervention has significant precedential value in that it confirms the unlawfulness of forcible unilateral humanitarian intervention.

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