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Cover International Law

20. The Use of Force and the International Legal Order  

Christine Gray

This chapter examines the law on the use of force. It discusses the UN Charter scheme; the Prohibition of the Use of Force in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter; intervention, civil wars, and invitation; self-defence; the use of force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter; UN peacekeeping; and regional action under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The UN Charter provisions on the use of force by States, Article 2(4) on the prohibition of force, and Article 51 on self-defence, have all caused fundamental divisions between States. There is disagreement as to whether the prohibition on force should be interpreted strictly or whether it allows humanitarian intervention, as in Kosovo. There is also disagreement over the scope of the right of self-defence. The response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks has led to a fundamental reappraisal of the law in this area.