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Under what circumstances, if any, does a state’s inherent right of self- defence allow it to take lawful military action before it has been subject to an armed attack? To what extent, if any, should the right of self- defence be reinterpreted to do so?

According to the Charter of the United Nations (1945) any use of force is prohibited by Article 2 (4): “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations” (pg 9). However, there is an exception to this rule which is also found in the Charter of the United Nations (1945), Article 51: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of the individual or collective self defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self- defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in anyway affect the authority on responsibility of the Security Council under the present charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain and restore international peace and security” (pg 16). It is the right to self- defence that the main issue of this essay aims to focus paying great attention as to whether it is lawful to act in self- defence to an attack that a state hasn’t yet been subject to. Due to many changes in recent years in relation to what weapons certain states or non- state actors possess and how they attack has lead to many debates on the different types of self- defence and how legislation should be interpreted to adapt to these new threats. The transformations that self- defence has witnessed are from the original right of individual or collective self defence against an armed attack



References: Antonopoulos, (2008) Charter of the United Nations (1945) Fisher, D. (1994) Franck, T Glennon, M. (2001- 2002) Gray, C Luban, D. (2003) McMahan, (2005) Reiff, M. (A) (2010) The Use of Force: Self- Defence. Found at: https://blackboard.manchester.ac.uk/webct/urw/lc5116011.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct Accessed on: 03/03/10 Reiff, M Riesman and Armstrong, (2006) Shah, N

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