Part 1 The Cold War Era (1945–89), 31 South African Incursions into Lesotho—1982
Edited By: Tom Ruys, Olivier Corten, Alexandra Hofer
- Self-defence — UN Charter — Armed attack
This chapter discusses the legality of South Africa’s incursion in Lesotho in 1982. After describing the facts of the case, it presents the legal arguments of the main protagonists – South Africa and Lesotho - and canvasses the positions taken by the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, as well as other important diplomatic players. It then assesses the legality of the intervention and discusses its impact on the progressive development of international law. It concludes that the incursion violated Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and that, in light of the overwhelmingly negative international reaction, the raid could not trigger an expanded reading of the right to self-defense, as was claimed by South Africa.