Use of Force

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The International Law on the Use of Force in light of new developments from the Americas

Introduction The first weeks of 2020 have so far proven quite eventful for the international community. After an opening salvo between the U.S. and Iran that prompted profuse debate on the international law on the use of force, in late January Juan Guaidó travelled through Europe to gather international support for his fight against the Maduro regime in Venezuela. The importance of this event for the international law on the use of force can hardly be overstated. Indeed, for the past couple of years, some regional voices in the Western Hemisphere have hinted at the possibility of using force against Venezuela to oust the Maduro regime and restore democracy there. More specifically, there is a recent development that may pose a serious challenge to the UN Charter: the invocation of the 1947 Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (“Tratado Interamericano de Asistencia Recíproca” or “TIAR”), also known as the “Rio Treaty,” by a group of American states against Venezuela. TIAR is a collective defense pact under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

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Mistake of Fact in Putative Self-Defence Against Cyber Attacks

I am glad that Marko has taken on the task of tackling the issue of mistakes of fact in international law, as I completely agree that it is a very important yet so far largely overlooked aspect, surprisingly so. While I’d mostly approve of Marko’s deliberations and conclusions, I wanted to add a brief point that I…

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Mistakes of Fact When Using Lethal Force in International Law: Part III

  To briefly recapitulate our examination of mistake of fact when using lethal force in various sub-fields of international law: such a doctrine is, in its purely subjective form, black letter law in international criminal law. It is also established (even if not labelled as such) in international human rights law and (somewhat less clearly) in international humanitarian…

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Mistakes of Fact When Using Lethal Force in International Law: Part II

  If a state believes that it is the target of an ongoing or imminent armed attack and uses force to repel that attack, but it later turns out that it was mistaken and that there either was no such attack or that there was no necessity to respond to it, is that use of force in putative…

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Mistakes of Fact When Using Lethal Force in International Law: Part I

  The tragic shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner over Tehran last week, which Iran has admitted to after several days of denial, has led me to think about a set of issues that was already on my mind when we were discussing the legality of the US strike on Soleimani. How exactly does international law…

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