Use of Force

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Are US Attacks in Pakistan an Armed Attack on Pakistan? A Response to Timothy Waters

In a response to my previous post, Professor Timothy Waters, asks why it is that US attacks on non-State actors in Pakistan would not be acts of war against Pakistan. In this post, I attempt to answer that question. First, we can't impute al Qaeda or Taliban attacks on our soldiers, which are continuous and well-known, to Pakistan merely because Pakistan is incapable of policing its territory.  Pakistan would have "state responsibility" (but not "imputation" or "attribution" [see Nicaragua v. U.S., 1986 I.C.J.]) - so Pakistan could be subject to sanctions not involving the use of armed force if Pakistan financed or even tolerated such attacks (according to the 1970 UN General Assembly Dec. Principles of  International Law, etc., and Nicaragua v. U.S., 1986 I.C.J.) unless Pakistan had effective control over al Qaeda or Taliban operations or later adopted them as its own (U.S. v. Iran, 1980 I.C.J.) -- none of which has happened to my knowledge.  I suppose we agree on this. Second, Professor Waters asks whether by merely using…

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The United States’ Use of Drones in Pakistan

Editors Note: We feature below a discussion between a group of leading United States academics on the US's targeting of Taliban and Al Qaeda targets  in Pakistan. Each of the discussants is a  leading writer on international law, and on the use of force in particular.  We are delighted to post this discussion on EJIL:Talk! As usual, readers are invited to post…

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Discussion on Use of Force Postponed

We have decided to postpone the discussion of the articles in the EJIL Anniversary Symposium on Use of Force which I announced last week. Fear not, the discussion will take place! We now plan to hold the discussion later this year, when Issue 4 of this year’s EJIL is published. As announced on…

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EJIL:Talk! Discussion on the Use of Force

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be hosting a discussion of articles in the latest issue of the European Journal of International Law. As readers will know, this year marks the 20th Anniversary of EJIL and each issue of the journal includes a symposium on selected areas of international law. In the latest issue (issue…

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Humanitarian intervention: neither right, nor responsibility, but necessity?

I'd like to offer a small "think piece" contribution to a bigger debate, in which I try and tease out a question that has troubled me: do we need a positive right of humanitarian intervention? What would happen if we conceded it was prima facie an unlawful use of force, but was legally (not just morally) justifiable or…

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