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date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Law is valued for providing an alternative to the use of force in the ordering of human affairs. In this sense, all of international law is law of peace, peace being the antithesis of force, violence, and armed conflict. The United Nations Charter, adopted in 1945, forms the basis of the contemporary peace regime. This chapter examines the Charter with the Just War Doctrine created by natural law theorists, drawing on early Christian and Jewish thought, as well as classical Greek and Roman philosophy. It considers the rise of positivism in the 18th century, the associated decline of natural law theory, and the crisis that resulted respecting legal controls on resort to force in the absence of positive law. The international community has since developed positive law respecting peace, but as mere positive law, these restraints have been open to challenge over the ranking of value preferences.

Keywords: law of peace, international law, United Nations Charter, non-violence, positivism, natural law theory, Just War Doctrine

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