The Use of Force on Humanitarian Grounds: Illegal but Legitimate?

Slate, Janet orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6618-942X (2015) The Use of Force on Humanitarian Grounds: Illegal but Legitimate? Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Theses Document]
PDF (Theses Document) - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



This master’s thesis critically addresses the legality of armed interventions by states, who, for the most part, defend their actions based on authority from the UN in the form of UN Resolutions. This thesis also investigates, in particular, uses of force that lack a clear legal authority. It then explores the issue of legitimate, that is, justifiable, uses of force as part of the decentralised system of international law enforcement.
The issue that is discussed considers whether an ‘illegal’ opposition force can in fact have some legitimacy. That is, can a use of force be justified even though it stretches the boundaries of international law, in particular an enabling UNSC Resolution.
The predominant justification that is analysed is the role of humanitarian intervention. The legitimacy of this doctrine is evaluated through its positive and negative aspects.
This thesis considers the aforementioned issues both in general terms, and with respect to UN Resolutions against Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya treated as case studies. The evaluation of these studies adds to and detracts from the legitimacy of armed intervention.
Finally, my thesis makes various suggestions for reform of this system with respect to a number of the difficulties it identifies with the practice of decentralised law enforcement.

Repository Staff Only: item control page