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Just War or Just Peace?Humanitarian Intervention and International Law$
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Simon Chesterman

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199257997.001.0001

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The Just War

The Just War

The origins of Humanitarian Intervention

(p.7) 1 The Just War
Just War or Just Peace?

Simon Chesterman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the emergence of a doctrine of the just war in the Middle Ages and the competing principle of non-intervention that arose as a corollary of sovereignty. This was not simply a precursor to the contemporary tension between human rights and sovereignty, however, the principle of non-intervention must be seen as linked also to the displacement of scholasticism by positivism in international law in 18th century Europe, and the political transformations taking place at the same time. The term ‘humanitarian intervention’ only emerged in the 19th century as a possible exception to this rule of non-intervention, but its meaning was far from clear: some writers held it to be a legal right; others confidently rejected it; a third group held that international law could or should have little to say about the matter.

Keywords:   humanitarian intervention, Middle Ages, international law, just war, Hugo Grotius, sovereignty, positivism, non-intervention

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