Defending Humanity: When Force is Justified and Why

Paperback | February 5, 2013

byGeorge P. Fletcher, Jens David Ohlin

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In Defending Humanity, internationally acclaimed legal scholar George P. Fletcher and Jens David Ohlin, a leading expert on international criminal law, tackle one of the most important and controversial questions of our time: When is war justified? When a nation is attacked, few would denythat it has the right to respond with force. But what about preemptive and preventive wars, or crossing another state's border to stop genocide? Was Israel justified in initiating the Six Day War, and was NATO's intervention in Kosovo legal? What about the U.S. invasion of Iraq?In their provocative book, Fletcher and Ohlin offer a groundbreaking theory on the legality of war with clear guidelines for evaluating these interventions. The authors argue that much of the confusion on the subject stems from a persistent misunderstanding of the United Nations Charter. The Charterappears to be very clear on the use of military force: it is only allowed when authorized by the Security Council or in self-defense. Unfortunately, this has led to the problem of justifying force when the Security Council refuses to act or when self-defense is thought not to apply - and to thedifficult dilemma of declaring such interventions illegal or ignoring the UN Charter altogether.Fletcher and Ohlin suggest that the answer lies in going back to the domestic criminal law concepts upon which the UN Charter was originally based, in particular, the concept of "legitimate defense," which encompasses not only self-defense but defense of others. Lost in the English-language versionof the Charter but a vital part of the French and other non-English versions, the concept of legitimate defense will enable political leaders, courts, and scholars to see the solid basis under international law for states to intervene with force - not just to protect themselves against an imminentattack but also to defend other national groups.

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In Defending Humanity, internationally acclaimed legal scholar George P. Fletcher and Jens David Ohlin, a leading expert on international criminal law, tackle one of the most important and controversial questions of our time: When is war justified? When a nation is attacked, few would denythat it has the right to respond with force. Bu...

George P. Fletcher, Professor of Law at Columbia University, is one of the preeminent scholars of criminal law in the English language. His Rethinking Criminal Law (OUP 2000) and The Grammar of Criminal Law (OUP 2007) are regarded as the leading works in the theory of criminal law and comparative criminal law. Jens David Ohlin is Assi...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:February 5, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199757216

ISBN - 13:9780199757213

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Murder Among Nations2. How to Talk Self Defense3. A Theory of Legitimate Defense4. The Six Elements of Legitimate Defense5. Excusing International Aggression6. Humanitarian Intervention7. Preemptive and Preventive Wars8. The Collective Dimension of WarConclusion