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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the extent to which the collective security system contributes to the enforcement of international law. The discussion begins by revisiting the theoretical debates about the role of enforcement in the current understanding of international law, with particular reference to John Austin’s imperatival handicap of international law. The chapter then considers how the move towards a centralized collective security system dismantled the position of self-help as a primary tool for the enforcement of international law. It also analyses the varying enforcement functions that have been conferred by international lawyers on the enforcement of international law, United Nations law, and peace, or the enforcement of the vague concept of justice conveyed by the UN Charter. Finally, it offers some epistemological observations on the place of enforcement in the ethos of the epistemic community of international law.

Keywords: collective security system, international law, John Austin, self-help, international lawyer, United Nations, peace, justice

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