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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force in international relations. After discussing pre-Charter attempts to restrict states’ freedom to resort to warfare, it examines the emergence of a normative doctrine on a bellum justum. It considers the history of Article 2(4) and the other articles of the Charter that touch on the use of force and outlines exceptions to the prohibition on the use of force, including the so-called Uniting for Peace procedure. It examines the interpretation of Article 2(4) in the practice of the General Assembly, Security Council, and International Court of Justice), together with its inclusion in a number of multilateral treaties. Finally, it assesses the question whether the use of force after 1945 conforms to the object and purpose of Article 2(4), as well as the legal status of the prohibition to use force in contemporary international law.

Keywords: Article 2(4), UN Charter, use of force, international relations, bellum justum, Uniting for Peace, United Nations, International Court of Justice, multilateral treaty, international law

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