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Part III The Prohibition of the Use of Force, Self-Defence, and Other Concepts, Ch.21 The Ban on the Use of Force in the UN Charter

Nico Schrijver

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law

Edited By: Marc Weller

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 31 May 2023

UN Charter — Treaties, application — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) — Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties — Airspace — Customary international law — Use of force, prohibition — International peace and security — Armed forces — Collective security — Armed attack — Weapons, nuclear — Weapons of mass destruction — Peace keeping — Self-defence — Hostage taking — Terrorism — Terrorism, financing

This chapter focuses on Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force in international relations. After discussing pre-Charter attempts to restrict states’ freedom to resort to warfare, it examines the emergence of a normative doctrine on a bellum justum. It considers the history of Article 2(4) and the other articles of the Charter that touch on the use of force and outlines exceptions to the prohibition on the use of force, including the so-called Uniting for Peace procedure. It examines the interpretation of Article 2(4) in the practice of the General Assembly, Security Council, and International Court of Justice), together with its inclusion in a number of multilateral treaties. Finally, it assesses the question whether the use of force after 1945 conforms to the object and purpose of Article 2(4), as well as the legal status of the prohibition to use force in contemporary international law.

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