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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Humanitarian Intervention

Vaughan Lowe, Antonios Tzanakopoulos

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

Subject(s):
Civil and political rights — Gross violations — Armed conflict — Conduct of hostilities — Humanitarian intervention — 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 Intervention has been characterized as one of the ‘vaguest branches of international law’ and one whose study may leave ‘the impression that intervention may be anything from a speech of Lord Palmerston’s in the House of Commons to the partition of Poland’ (PH Winfield ‘The History of Intervention in International Law’ [1922] 3 BYIL 130). Its limitation to ‘humanitarian intervention’ does little to facilitate greater precision. 2 At the outset, one might distinguish between forcible and non-forcible ‘humanitarian’ intervention. There are non-forcible actions,...
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