The Legitimacy of Humanitarian Interventions

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According tomany international lawyers, humanitarian interventions without authorization by the UN Security Council are unlawful, but are sometimes morally justified. This discrepancy between legality and legitimacy has led to proposals for making international law more congruent withmorality. This article examines the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions by discussing themajor justifications by Walzer, Rawls, and Teso´ n. It argues that these justifications are open-ended: they fail to show that intervention should be limited to cases of violation of basic human rights, and do not categorically rule out intervention in the name of liberal and democratic rights. This is one more reason for being cautious with attempts to establish a law of humanitarian intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-692
Number of pages23
JournalLeiden Journal of International Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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