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Part III The Prohibition of the Use of Force, Self-Defence, and Other Concepts, Ch.25 The International Court of Justice and the ‘Principle of Non-Use of Force’

Claus Kreß

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: 27 March 2023

UN Charter — Self-defence — Armed conflict, international — Armed forces — Armed attack — Warfare, sea — International peace and security — Weapons, nuclear — Collective security — Weapons — Weapons, biological — Necessity — Military necessity — Weapons of mass destruction — Aggression — Customary international law — State practice — Peremptory norms / ius cogens — Erga omnes obligations

This chapter examines how the ICJ has interpreted UN Charter provisions on use of force in international relations. It outlines ICJ jurisprudence covering use of force by focusing on prohibition of use of force, exceptions to that prohibition, and prohibition of the threat of force. It cites cases from Corfu Channel (1949) to Nicaragua (1986); Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996); Case Concerning Oil Platforms (2003) pitting Iran against the US; Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (2004); and Case Concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (2005). The chapter opines that the Court was remarkably successful in clarifying the law and influencing state practice according to its interpretations. Finally it suggests that the ICJ should avoid too much prohibitive rigour in clarifying the important remaining grey areas of the international law on the use of force.

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