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4 Self-defence: the framework

From: International Law and the Use of Force (4th Edition)

Christine Gray

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 19 June 2024


This chapter discusses the general framework of the law of self-defence. The scope of the right of self-defence is the subject of the most fundamental disagreement between states and between writers. Some of the divisions over the scope of the right of self-defence, especially as to whether anticipatory self-defence against an imminent armed attack and the protection of nationals abroad are lawful, date back to the creation of the United Nations. Other divisions centre on the right to use force in self-defence in response to colonial occupation, to terrorist attacks, and to other attacks by non-state actors. This chapter also discusses the special regime of collective self-defence.

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