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Part 3 The Post 9/11-Era (2001–), 49 The Iraq War—2003

Marc Weller

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: 20 May 2024

International law and international relations — General principles of international law — Armed attack

This contribution discusses the Iraq War of 2003. It begins by setting out the facts and context of the US and British invasion. It then considers the legal justifications put forward by the intervening states and assesses the reaction of the international community to these events. It then tests the legality of the intervention against the international legal framework governing the use of force as it stood at the time of the events. In particular it considers whether UNSC Resolution 1441 provided a legal basis for the use of force against Iraq. The final section examines if, and to what extent, the case had an impact on the further development of the jus ad bellum. The Iraq War of 2003 did indeed have an effect on the erosion of the prohibition of the use of force, however it was a cumulative effect, rather than an immediate and decisive one.

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