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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the doctrine of necessity as an element of the prohibition of the use of force and as a subsidiary condition of the legality of self-defence. It begins by discussing the thesis of necessity as a general justification of the use of force within the context of the international law of responsibility. It then analyses necessity as a condition enshrined in self-defence and in the United Nations collective security system. The chapter also considers the methodological problems that arise from any interpretation of the concept of necessity, especially with respect to the use of force. It highlights the fact that the International Law Commission, the International Court of Justice, and state practice have never recognized necessity as a general justification to use force.

Keywords: necessity, use of force, self-defence, international law, responsibility, United Nations, collective security system, International Law Commission, International Court of Justice

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