International Law and the Use of Force

Offered as part of the Master of Laws program, this course examines the far-reaching changes that have occurred since the nineteenth century to the body of law governing recourse to the use of force (jus ad bellum).

In 1945 the United Nations Charter prohibited States from resolving their international disputes by the threat or use of force except, subject to certain conditions, in self-defence, and established a system of collective security whereby the Security Council would take action in the name of the international community to maintain or restore international peace and security.

The Cold War obstructed the effective realisation of these provisions but the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a renewal of hopes in the early 1990s that a system of collective security might function as originally intended. It has functioned, but not as intended and indeed since the turn of the century, the limits of collective security measures have been tested, as have those of self-defence, notably since the ‘September 11’ attacks.

The course builds on LAWS8183 Advanced Principles of International Law and examines contentious or sometimes overlooked issues relative to the use of force and enforcement measures: such as implied authorisations and intervention by invitation. More traditional topics, such as the doctrine of humanitarian intervention and the idea of a responsibility to protect (R2P) will also be considered.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team