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Part III Security Governance Tools, Ch.45 The Use of Force

Elizabeth Wilmshurst

From: The Oxford Handbook of the International Law of Global Security

Edited By: Robin Geiß, Nils Melzer

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 17 June 2021

Subject(s):
Self-defence — Collective security

This chapter describes the collective security system established by the United Nations Charter and focuses on the use of force. The vision of the founders of the United Nations—‘determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’—was to make the preservation of international peace a collective responsibility and to locate that responsibility in the United Nations and, in particular, the United Nations Security Council. States were obliged to refrain from the use of force in their international relations, and there would be no resort to armed force except ‘in the common interest’, as declared in the preamble to the Charter. However, contemporary security threats such as global terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction give rise to questions about whether the law is ‘sufficient’. The chapter then outlines the international legal framework and discusses some of the difficulties in interpreting or applying aspects of the law in the context of recent challenges to the international legal order. It considers whether this legal framework is still appropriate to deal with current security threats and whether the efficacy of the law is still recognized in the practice of States.

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