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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]


Christopher Greenwood

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 14 October 2019

Self-defence — Armed attack — Collective security — Necessity — Conduct of hostilities — Military necessity

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 The right of a State to use force in self-defence is long-established in customary international law . Nevertheless, while it can be traced back at least as far as the correspondence between the United Kingdom and United States governments regarding the Caroline incident in 1837 ( Caroline, The ), its importance in the 19th century was limited by the fact that international law then recognized a general right of resort to war, so that self-defence was significant (at least in legal, as opposed to political, terms) only with regard to lesser instances of the use...
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