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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the evolution of the jus ad bellum from the use of war as a sanction to the sanctioning of war. It provides an overview of the doctrine of just war in the Middle Ages before turning to the concepts of just and legal war in the early modern period. It considers how, during that period and the 19th century, the argument of self-defence came to play a prominent role in the justification of war, leading to a contamination of the concepts of just and legal war. It explains why the concept of legal war was abolished by the international community of states and looks at major treaties and state practice relating to war and self-defence of the interwar years leading to the formation of an international customary rule against aggression. It analyses the transfer of the natural right of self-defence to the domain of positive international law.

Keywords: jus ad bellum, sanction, just war, legal war, self-defence, peace movement, pacifism, treaties, aggression, international law

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