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Iraq and the Use of Force in International Law$
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Marc Weller

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595303

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595303.001.0001

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Forcible Humanitarian Action

Forcible Humanitarian Action

(p.59) 3 Forcible Humanitarian Action
Iraq and the Use of Force in International Law

Marc Weller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the overall impact on international law of forcible humanitarian action relating to Iraq. Iraq, and, to a lesser extent, Liberia and initial action concerning Sierra Leone, were the only precedents that could be used in support of the argument that a new justification for the use of force was available in international custom by the time of the Kosovo operation. The UK's pronouncements in this respect served to crystallize the purported new rule. Previously, proponents of humanitarian intervention had been relatively isolated, and at times regarded as idealists arguing on the basis of concepts, rather than state practice accepted as law. The UK's willingness to argue formally that action in Iraq was justified as a matter of right overturned this presumption. Forcible humanitarian action was now at least a respectable position to take.

Keywords:   use of force, humanitarian intervention, United Nations, forcible humanitarian action, Iraq, international law, United Kingdom

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