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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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Controlling State Involvement in Conflict

Controlling State Involvement in Conflict

(p.33) 2 Controlling State Involvement in Conflict
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the law governing the State recourse to war. After addressing the twentieth-century emphasis on inter-State conflict, the analysis shifts to noninternational armed conflict. This analysis identifies the traditional view of those conflicts being domestic in nature and the law governing the recourse to war having no application to such conflict. However, it also considers: the historical recognition that some of these conflicts can be international in character; the impact of contemporary conflicts transforming from international to noninternational ones; an increasing recognition that the law governing State self-defense can apply to responses against transnational non-State actor attacks; and the interpretive struggle that international lawyers have encountered in dealing with this new reality. Ultimately, it is shown there is a growing acceptance that the right to self-defense by States has applicability to non-State actor conflicts.

Keywords:   history of international law, State self-defense, armed conflict, international armed conflict, noninternational armed conflict

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