Support Jus Contra Bellum

Oliver Corten has a post on EJIL Talk!: ( in which he presents a plea against abusive invocation of self-defense within the context of counterterrorism operations.  I wrote about an emerging Responsibility to Prevent Terrorism doctrine after Colombia’s raid in Ecuador in which it targeted Raul Reyes (second in command of the FARC) in 2008.  Both the OAS and the Rio Group reaffirmed the principles of sovereignty,  abstention from the use of force, respect for the right of territorial integrity, and the duty of non-intervention.  Yet, they also agreed that there is a duty to act in a preventive and responsive manner to terrorism but highlighted that alternatives should be pursued within multilateral or bilateral frameworks.(See “The ‘Unrule of Law’: Unintended Consequences of Applying the Responsibility to Prevent to Counterterrorism, A Case Study of Colombia’s Raid in Ecuador” in C. Bailliet, Security: A Multidisciplinary Normative Approach Brill 2009).

Since then, there has been a steady trend towards supporting recognition of an exception to the prohibition of the use of force as the new rule.  Please read Corten’s plea and consider signing:  (

One thought on “Support Jus Contra Bellum

  1. Thanks for the post . Unfortunately, it seems, that in that presentation of the more restrictive doctrine for self defense, the authors it seems, ignored the language itself of that main article (51 of the UN charter). This is not an appropriate methodology , neither for legal analysis , nor for presentation of it even . Here I quote :

    ” Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

    End of quotation :

    Now , the word : ” inherent ” in the ” chapeaux” of that article , suggests clearly , that such right of self defense , can’t be conditioned or restrictive , it is an absolute right , a sort of jus cogens or natural law . In such , it does suggest , that it is the rule , and not the exception !! natural law , can’t be the exception , but rule , like other jus cogens : Genocide , crimes against humanity and so forth…. So, not to confuse, prohibition of aggression, with, self defense. Both are rules, and not the exceptions. Moreover:

    First it does dictate , that inherent right , and latter , Security council , or until security council takes over the situation as stated clearly .

    I wonder, how in light of it, the authors of that document, could reconcile” inherent right ” , and : military response as a last resort, all while fighting against, an amorphous enemy like terrorists.

    They need far greater persuasive arguments with all due respect ( or at least , the presentation is missing some of them ) .


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