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Title: Intervention by invitation and the alleged prohibition of military assistance to governments in civil wars
Author: Vermeer, Zachary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6408
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The use of military force by one state on another's territory with the consent of its government has been a frequent occurrence in international relations since 1945. Government consent as a legal justification for force has only increased in prominence in recent years. Yet the existing academic commentary reveals significant disagreement as to how consent as a legal basis for force is to be reconciled with important structural elements of international law. One such tension is with the widely-accepted view that the prohibition on the use of force is jus cogens, and hence non-derogable. This seemingly conflicts with the asserted ability of consent to legalize what would otherwise be a contravention of the prohibition. Chapter 1 of this thesis examines the scope of the peremptory prohibition on the use of force and establishes that consensual force does not breach the prohibition. It then shows that this does not leave the peremptory status of the prohibition devoid of effect, thus also contributing to a deeper understanding of jus cogens and its role in international law. Another point of tension arises where foreign military assistance helps maintain in power a government which is being challenged by opposition groups. Accepting the legality of intervention in this situation appears in conflict with the idea that the identification of governments in international law is based on effective control of the State's territory, and with fundamental principles such as non-intervention and self determination. Reflecting such concerns, there is a long-standing debate in the scholarship about whether there is a general prohibition on military intervention in favour of governments faced with civil wars or internal conflicts, although one subject to a range of limitations and exceptions. The remainder of the thesis focuses on whether such a prohibition exists. It demonstrates that the disagreement in part reflects different methodological approaches to how international law is established, thus providing a broader insight into international legal argumentation. The thesis suggests grounds for scepticism as to the existence of a general legal prohibition of the type proposed. Although there are obvious risks of abuse of pro-government intervention, States see it as capable of furthering valuable aims. Rather than establishing a general legal prohibition of such interventions, the international community assesses the legitimacy of such actions on the basis of a complex set of ethical and political factors, against the background of their general legality (subject to compliance with obligations imposed by international humanitarian law and human rights law, which cannot be displaced by consent).
Supervisor: Akande, Dapo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available