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Fighting at the Legal BoundariesControlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict$
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Kenneth Watkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190457976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190457976.001.0001

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Law Enforcement and “Self-Defense”

Law Enforcement and “Self-Defense”

(p.443) 11 Law Enforcement and “Self-Defense”
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the relationship between human rights–based law enforcement and the two other areas of law: the State exercise of self-defense and humanitarian law. This analysis establishes that although the law governing national self-defense and law enforcement share common terminology, the principles operate differently within each body of law. The chapter looks at the just war roots of acting in self-defense, use of force for mission accomplishment (i.e., enforce the law), and the principle of imminence. The dominant influence of the national self-defense principles will be considered in the context of general rules of engagement doctrine, “robust” UN peacekeeping, and the U.S. Standing Rules of Engagement. Finally, the application of law enforcement rules in the international security environment is discussed to highlight some of the pressures being exerted on a body of law that was primarily designed to regulate internal State order during times of relative peace.

Keywords:   human rights, civil and political rights, right to life, international law, armed conflict, use of force, humanitarian law, just war

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