The legality of humanitarian intervention under the United Nations Charter and contemporary international law
This study is about the legality of the doctrine of humanitarian intervention under both the United Nations Charter and contemporary international law. The main idea behind this doctrine is the protection of human rights and the prevention of human rights violations. This doctrine was mainly developed in the nineteenth century. It was invoked during the nineteenth century by the European states to justify their intervention in the Ottoman Empire in order to protect its Christian minorities. This doctrine as we will see was not clearly mentioned in the United Nations Charter nor in any other regional charters. In other words, the United Nations Charter itself refers to the protection and promotion of human rights in many articles such as articles 55 and 56. Therefore, the United Nations Charter neither prohibits nor justifies this sort of intervention as an exception to the general ban on the use of force. According to the United Nations Charter the use of force is acceptable only in two cases: enforcement measures of the Security Council according to articles 39, 41 and 42 and implementation of the right to individual or collective self-defence according to article 51. In addition to the principle of non-use of force which is included in article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, the Charter itself contains other principles such as the principle of non-intervention, sovereignty and the recognition of human rights. There is always endless conflict among these principles. The principles of non-use of force, non-intervention and state sovereignty could be classified as one pole and the promotion and protection of human rights as another pole. The tension between these concepts should be resolved. To this end the main question which is to be discussed throughout this study would be whether one should recognise the doctrine of humanitarian intervention as another exception to the general ban on the use of force in order to put an end to serious human rights violation? Or should states respect the prohibition on the use of force and thus refrain from intervening in the affairs of other states? In other words, should the principles of non-use of force, non-intervention and state sovereignty prevail over the protection of human rights? Or should these principles be set aside for the purpose of protecting human rights? In order to answer these questions and others this study will be divided into seven chapters. Chapter 1, Introduction , the present chapter identifies the problem to be discussed throughout this study. Chapter 2, covers the development of human rights through since early times up to 1945 and the early international measures adopted in this regard. Chapter 3, deals with the general, special and regional human rights conventions. Chapter 4, highlights the impact of sovereignty, non-intervention and human rights considerations on the debate concerning humanitarian intervention Chapter 5, traces the historical development of humanitarian intervention. Chapter 6, examines collective humanitarian intervention after the Gulf War. Chapter 7, is summary and conclusion.