De legitimiteit van humanitaire interventies: Preadvies Vereniging voor Wijsbegeerte van het Recht, vergadering van 18 juni 2004

Translated title of the contribution: The legitimacy of humanitarian interventions

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Humanitarian intervention without authorisation from the UN Security
Council is considered illegal by most, though not all, international lawyers.
This does not mean, however, that states or regional security organisations
like NATO are always prepared to abide by international law when faced
with humanitarian disasters in the absence of Security Council authorisation.
Many would argue that under certain circumstances humanitarian
interventions can be justified on purely moral grounds in those cases. The
author of this article discusses the moral justifications of humanitarian
interventions that have been given by Walzer, Rawls, Kersting and Te´son.He
argues that Walzer does not succeed in providing a clear criterion on the
basis of which it can be decided when a humanitarian intervention is called
for. Rawls does provide a clear criterion,but does not convincingly show why
this norm would be acceptable to liberal or decent peoples or to those living
in outlaw states.Kerstings non-liberal cosmopolitanism succeeds in defending
humanitarian interventions in the case of violations of ‘existential
rights’, but the implication of his argument seems to be that the international
community is to remain passive in the case of violations of liberal or
social rights. Te´son claims to defend a liberal cosmopolitan position, but
fails to show why a liberal would justify humanitarian interventions only in
the case of violations of basic human rights like the right to life.
Translated title of the contributionThe legitimacy of humanitarian interventions
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)134-158
Number of pages25
JournalNetherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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