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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores some of the problems concerning the role of third states in situations of unlawful use of force by a state against another state. It first draws a distinction between states directly involved in conflict either as the instigator or as the victim of an unlawful armed intervention, and ‘third states’. It then considers the rules that define the legal position of third states in situations arising from an unlawful use of force, as well as the responses that such states are entitled or obliged to take when dealing with such situations. In particular, the chapter examines the rules on state responsibility and their impact on and interaction with the other rules dealing with the position of third states. It also describes the scope of applicability of the law of neutrality, collective self-defence, enforcement of erga omnes obligations, and centralized versus decentralized responses by third states.

Keywords: third states, use of force, state responsibility, law of neutrality, self-defence, erga omnes obligations

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