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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter makes its analysis of force and intervention through the art and craft of making legal justifications. It asks why legal justifications are made at all, giving some sense of the circumstances in which these justifications take their essential shape and form. Then, the chapter considers how these justifications alert us to some of the unspoken assumptions about force and intervention in international law — what can be taken away from an analysis of the practice of justifications other than an engagement with the merits of their respective substance, which so consistently occupies much of the existing literature in this field. Finally, the chapter attempts to connect these points to a broader set of issues theorizing the purpose or function of force in today’s world.

Keywords: Responsibility of international organizations, Customary international law, General principles of international law, Relationship of international law & host state law, Sources of international law

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