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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Armed Attack

Karl Zemanek†

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 28 January 2022

Self-defence — Conduct of hostilities — Paramilitary groups — Weapons — Armed attack

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 Art. 51 UN Charter makes an ‘armed attack’ the condition for the exercise of the right of self-defence. In the judgment on the merits of the Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua Case (Nicaragua v United States of America) (‘Nicaragua Case’) the International Court of Justice (‘ICJ’) declared, however, that ‘a definition of “armed attack” which, if found to exist, authorizes the exercise of the “inherent right” of self-defence, is not provided in the United Nations Charter, and is not part of treaty law’ (Nicaragua Case para. 176). The...
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