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The Discourse of Proportionality and the Use of Force: International Law and the Power of Definition

Bak Mckenna, Miriam LU (2020) In Nordic Journal of International Law 89(1). p.364-382
Abstract
Foregrounding standards like ‘proportionality’ and ‘necessity’ have come to assume a central place in the international legal vocabulary for assessing the legitimacy of war. In both ethical and practical terms, the shift towards common standards provides a useful vernacular to assess military operations. But the question remains: how should these terms be interpreted and applied and by whom? Simultaneously, debates over the definitional boundaries of the legal concept of war and its attendant categories (e.g. lawful military objects, protected zones, combatants, civilians) have arisen in many contexts, leaving room for different and conflicting interpretations, often to the detriment of marginalised groups and weaker States. This article... (More)
Foregrounding standards like ‘proportionality’ and ‘necessity’ have come to assume a central place in the international legal vocabulary for assessing the legitimacy of war. In both ethical and practical terms, the shift towards common standards provides a useful vernacular to assess military operations. But the question remains: how should these terms be interpreted and applied and by whom? Simultaneously, debates over the definitional boundaries of the legal concept of war and its attendant categories (e.g. lawful military objects, protected zones, combatants, civilians) have arisen in many contexts, leaving room for different and conflicting interpretations, often to the detriment of marginalised groups and weaker States. This article examines the ambivalences, complexities and contestations that have arisen in the move towards broader and subjective discourses of law and war, through the lens of proportionality. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Public international law, Folkrätt
in
Nordic Journal of International Law
volume
89
issue
1
pages
364 - 382
publisher
Brill Academic Publishers
external identifiers
  • scopus:85096927512
ISSN
0902-7351
DOI
10.1163/15718107-89030006
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
59103184-a261-4b6b-852b-37c98ffab2f6
date added to LUP
2020-11-08 11:12:37
date last changed
2020-12-20 03:50:40
@article{59103184-a261-4b6b-852b-37c98ffab2f6,
  abstract     = {Foregrounding standards like ‘proportionality’ and ‘necessity’ have come to assume a central place in the international legal vocabulary for assessing the legitimacy of war. In both ethical and practical terms, the shift towards common standards provides a useful vernacular to assess military operations. But the question remains: how should these terms be interpreted and applied and by whom? Simultaneously, debates over the definitional boundaries of the legal concept of war and its attendant categories (e.g. lawful military objects, protected zones, combatants, civilians) have arisen in many contexts, leaving room for different and conflicting interpretations, often to the detriment of marginalised groups and weaker States. This article examines the ambivalences, complexities and contestations that have arisen in the move towards broader and subjective discourses of law and war, through the lens of proportionality.},
  author       = {Bak Mckenna, Miriam},
  issn         = {0902-7351},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {364--382},
  publisher    = {Brill Academic Publishers},
  series       = {Nordic Journal of International Law},
  title        = {The Discourse of Proportionality and the Use of Force: International Law and the Power of Definition},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15718107-89030006},
  doi          = {10.1163/15718107-89030006},
  volume       = {89},
  year         = {2020},
}