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Use of Force Doctrine: How the League of Nations Forged The Modern Interpretation of Use of Force?

Sourodip Nandy, Symbiosis Law School.


Under the ambit of international law, states are not permitted to threaten to use force nor can they use force against other states. This rule is mentioned under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter and is regarded as a peremptory norm. This prohibition on use of force is the most important obligation of the states under the international law. States being subject to international law enjoy both rights and obligations. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter gives the inherent right to the state to use self-defense. But while exercising this right the state can not infringe the rights of another State. As per article 51 of the United Nation Charter states are allowed to use force only in special circumstances but states continue to use the force under other circumstances as well. Before the establishment of the United Nations states were free to decide whether to wage war or not to wage war against one another. There was no regulation on the States for the use of force.

The only guiding principle on the State was the moral consideration relating to ‘just’ war and ‘unjust’ war. Further the determination of ‘justness’ of the war was based on subjective interpretation. This allowed states to wage brutal wars against one another. United Nations after its establishment has been successful in dealing with the use of force by the states, but it faces criticisms. The criticisms that are faced by the United Nations Charter are that firstly whether the prohibition of use of force should only continue to be military use of force and secondly how should States deal with the non-state entities such as terrorism organizations which are not governed by the Charter rules.


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Journal Details
Abbreviation: NLR 

ISSN:   2582-8479 (O)

Year of Starting: 2020

Place: New Delhi, India

Accessibility: Open Access

Peer Reviewer: Double Blind



​All research articles published in NLR and are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited.

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