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Preventive ForceDrones, Targeted Killing, and the Transformation of Contemporary Warfare$
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Kerstin Fisk

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479857531

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479857531.001.0001

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The Contemporary Practice of Self-Defense

The Contemporary Practice of Self-Defense

Evolving Toward the Use of Preemptive or Preventive Force?

(p.229) 9 The Contemporary Practice of Self-Defense
Preventive Force

Avery Plaw

João Franco Reis

NYU Press

Preventive use of force by the United States over the last decade, most notably in Iraq and currently by means of armed drones operating far from conventional battlefields, is bound to have huge consequences for the international legal regime and particularly the Ius ad Bellum. Yet these consequences need not, as many commentators and scholars have worried, be all bad. Indeed, we argue in this chapter that they may have some unintended positive effects on the law of self-defense and particularly on the interpretation of Article 51 of the UN Charter. This chapter begins by briefly reviewing the famously contentious debates over the meaning of self-defense under Article 51 in the era before 2001, and then sketches an interpretation of how US uses of force, and increasingly those of other states like Israel, Turkey and Colombia, are re-shaping those debates and creating the basis for a new compromise permitting limited, episodic exercises of force in response to sustained patterns of attack by non-state actors. The integration of such a compromise into the customary practice of states has the potential both to resolve inconclusive and sterile debates over the meaning of Article 51.

Keywords:   Self-defense, United Nations, Military, Non-state actors, Article 51, Intervention, Drones

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