Use of Force

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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 danger that the court will issue an injunction calling on Israel to halt its fire.” This post argues that the ICJ’s authority to indicate provisional measures is constrained by the right of self-defense recognized in Article 51 of the UN Charter. Therefore, on the (plausible) assumption that Israel’s war against Hamas is an act of self-defense with the meaning of Article 51, the ICJ cannot order provisional measures that would impair the lawful exercise of that right.

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Self-Defence as an Exception to the Principle of Non-Use of Force: Debunking the Myth

Introduction Marko Milanovic recently wrote a blog for EJIL: Talk! examining whether Israel can rely on the right of self-defence to justify its military action against Hamas. Marko’s post addresses many difficult questions relating to the law of self-defence and is a must read. In this post I want to focus on one of Marko’s…

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A plea for a right of Israel to self-defence in order to restrict its military operations in Gaza: when jus ad bellum comes to the aid of jus in bello

Numerous States, making statements before the UN Security Council or the UN General Assembly during the last resumption of its tenth Emergency Special Session, have recognized the right of Israel to respond in self-defence to the Hamas’ October 7 attacks in accordance with international law. Those States include the United States (S/PV.9439, at 3), the United…

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Does Israel Have the Right to Defend Itself?

This is a deceptively simple question. It has several possible answers, each of which rests on different (and highly contested) assumptions. In this post I will try to explain what these possible answers are, and what are their implications. I don’t myself know what the ‘correct’ answer here is. It is not my intention to argue for one.

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The Lessons of 9/11 for October 7

October 7 is being called Israel’s 9/11. The comparison is apt for the lessons that can be learned as to the legality of launching a ground offensive to respond to terrorism. The United States and the United Kingdom invaded Afghanistan in response to 9/11. Israel has announced it will undertake a full-scale…

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