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Cassese's International Law

Cassese's International Law (3rd edn)

Paola Gaeta, Jorge E. Viñuales, and Salvatore Zappalá
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date: 24 May 2024

p. 33516. Collective Security and the use of Armed Forcelocked

p. 33516. Collective Security and the use of Armed Forcelocked

  • Paola Gaeta, Paola GaetaProfessor of International Law, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • Jorge E. ViñualesJorge E. ViñualesHarold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy, University of Cambridge
  •  and Salvatore ZappalàSalvatore ZappalàProfessor of International Law, University of Catania


The Cold War era prevented the UN Security Council from using most of the powers provided for by the UN Charter, including adopting measures under Chapter VII (the so-called ‘collective security system’ which provides for measures ranging from sanctions to the use of armed force) for events deemed (by the Security Council) to be threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression. However, the end of the Cold War enabled the Security Council to take some of the measures short of force envisaged in Article 41 and to interpret creatively the provisions of the Charter so as to authorize enforcement action through the use of armed force by individual States or coalitions of States. This chapter discusses measures short of armed force; peacekeeping operations; resort to force by States, as well as regional and other organizations, upon authorization of the Security Council; the special case of authorization to use force given by the General Assembly; as well as the right to self-defence and the various situations in which armed force has been used unilaterally by States.

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