Changing International Law to Meet New Challenges

Interpretation, Modification and the Use of Force

By Andreas Laursen

The international rules governing the use of force in international relations have been under pressure in recent years. They have on several occasions been challenged by states' practice, be it through actual acts (for example, in the case of Kosovo 1999, Afghanistan 2001, and Iraq 2003) or in statements (such as the 2002 US National Security Strategy). A fundamental question concerns how international law reacts to such challenges. Does is disintegrate or does it adapt to the new circumstances? This book focuses on the intersection of two central and challenging issues in international law. The first concerns the ways in which such normative frameworks change, evolve, or are modified in international law. The second concerns the extent to which the basic norms governing the use of force against terrorists have changed significantly since the attacks on New York and Washington DC in 2001. The book examines the relationship between a treaty and subsequent challenging claims and acts by states. It is found that practice subsequent to a treaty may be central to the interpretation of the treaty or may in fact cause an informal modification of the treaty. In addition, the exact operation of subsequent practice is identified. A number of incidents involving the use of force against terrorists are described. These examples of state practice and the reactions are then analyzed in order to determine their effect on international law, in particular in the areas requiring state involvement, the definition of an armed attack, the issues of necessity and proportionality, and the state of necessity excuse. This book is the author's Ph.D. thesis that was submitted and defended at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.


331 pages

Publication Date: 10/1/2006
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9788757415292