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Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility To ProtectWho Should Intervene?$
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James Pattison

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199561049

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199561049.001.0001

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Humanitarian Intervention and International Law

Humanitarian Intervention and International Law

(p.43) 2 Humanitarian Intervention and International Law
Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility To Protect

James Pattison

Oxford University Press

It is often claimed that humanitarian intervention should be undertaken only by those interveners whose action would be legal according to current international law. This chapter considers this assertion by assessing the moral importance of an intervener's legal status. It begins by suggesting that, according to the current international law on humanitarian intervention, UN Security Council authorization is required for an intervener's action to be legal. It then critically examines—and largely rejects—a number of possible arguments for the importance of an intervener's legal status. In particular, it considers the arguments that (a) legal interveners derive their authority from morally valuable procedures; (b) illegal humanitarian intervention is itself abusive; (c) illegal humanitarian intervention leads to abusive intervention; and (d) illegal humanitarian intervention undermines international order.

Keywords:   abuse, consent, Fernando Tesón, humanitarian intervention, international law, international order, legal positivism, natural law, proceduralism, responsibility to protect, UN Security Council

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