The Legitimacy of the Use of Force in Interstate Conflicts

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Abstract

After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, war became an act of the state, and rules to reduce declarations of war began to be adopted. We must distinguish between two markedly different approaches: the first, legislation on the principle of prohibition of force and the second, humanitarian law. In Resolution 3314, the United Nations General Assembly defined aggression as the use of armed force in a manner incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, but Article 2 of the Resolution’s Appendix gives the Security Council authority to determine whether or not the use of force is lawful. This article thus argues that international law has not been able to end war as a means of conflict resolution because situations continue to exist in which it is legally possible to use force.