The changing rules on the use of force in international law

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Tarcisio Gazzini
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This book is the collective use of force within the framework of the Charter, whose ambitious project is based on the premise that armed force can be resorted to exclusively in the common interest. It begins with a short discussion of the powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and the conditions under which these powers may be exercised. The United States, supported by its NATO allies, or at least some of them, openly challenged the authority of the Security Council and attempted to downgrade its authorisation from a legal requirement to a matter of political convenience. The book deals with the use of force by States either individually or jointly. Through the lenses of the interaction between the Charter and customary international law, it considers the evolution of the right to self-defence, the only exception expressly provided for in the Charter, and the possible re-emergence of other exceptions. The book focuses in particular on the controversial question concerning the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons in self-defence and of the pre-emptive military action against threats posed by these weapons. Often referring to the recent Iraqi crisis, it further deals with the collective and unilateral means at the disposal of the United Nations and its members to enforce disarmament obligations and tackle the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

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