Self Defence

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Does Israel have the right to self-defence – and what are the restrictions?

There has been much focus on Israeli violations of international humanitarian law (jus in bello) and possible genocide in Gaza. Less attention has been paid to Israel’s claim to self-defence (jus ad bellum) against the terrorist attack on 7 October 2023. However, the rules on self-defence address the legality of the overall purpose of the operations and the choice of military strategy. This is different from the lawfulness of the targeting in individual operations as governed by international humanitarian law or of a possible genocidal purpose of the operations. Marko Milanovic [here] has doubted whether the UN Charter prohibition against the use of force and the right to self-defence is applicable, as well as the usefulness of the customary international law restrictions of necessity and proportionality. The content of these restrictions has also been debated by Adil Ahmad Haque [here and here] and Charles Kels [here] and by other authors. I will discuss, in the absence of universal recognition of Palestine as a…

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Eunavfor Aspides and the Ratione Temporis Application of the Right of Self-Defence

The post is based on my previous one “La missione EUNAVFOR Aspides dell’Unione europea e l’applicazione ratione temporis del diritto di legittima difesa”, published (in Italian) on SIDIBlog on March 19, 2024 Introduction On February 19, 2024 the European Union (EU) launched EUNAVFOR Aspides, a military maritime security operation in…

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A reply to Brassat: The Military Strikes Against the Houthis in Yemen and the ‘Fourth Problem’ of Necessity and Proportionality

A few days ago Leonie Brassat published an excellent piece on EJIL Talk! which discussed the possible legal bases upon which the current military strikes against the Houthis in the Red Sea and Yemen might be located. The piece centered on the right of self-defence and set out ‘three problems’ which were focused exclusively on the…

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Does the ICJ have the Legal Authority to Pronounce itself on the Right to Self-Defence?

Jesse Lempel raises a profound issue in his recent post concerning the South African application for provisional measures against Israel in the Gaza genocide case. He asserts that the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, cannot ‘order provisional measures that impair a state’s right to self-defence.’ The argument appears to be…

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Why the ICJ Cannot Order Israel to Stop the War in Gaza as a Provisional Measure

Will the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order Israel to cease or curtail its military operations in Gaza as a provisional measure, as South Africa requested in its proceedings against Israel under the Genocide Convention? That is the “big question,” as Professor Mike Becker put it. And Israeli officials are reportedly concerned about the “real…

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