Kantian Journal

2013 Issue №4(46)

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The legitimation and criticism of violence in international law. A po¬litical science perspective



This article considers the practice of justification of arbitrary use of force, which poses a paradox and was not foreseen in Kant’s peace project. It is paradoxical because modern international law — unlike classical law — is aimed not at regulating wars but maintaining peace. However, the UN Charter provides for the right to self-defence before the collective resolution is adopted. Despite rather strict legal restrictions and international court procedures, cases of abuse of this right occur on a frightening scale. A considerable threat is posed by that it is ‘indirect’ self-defence manifested in interventions, be it ‘humanitarian’ interventions to protect a diaspora (human rights) or the fight for the sphere of influence (in the name of sovereignty) wellknown since the Cold War. Thus, both variants considered by Kant proved to be vulnerable; the ambiguities, which were almost unnoticeable in his ban on intervention, have come to the fore. An attempt was made to justify humanitarian intervention through the ban to use force for the purposes contradicting the goals of the UN Charter, whereas human rights protection is one of them. Thus, any formulation of conditions for admissible violence can be used for its justification, since exceptions come hand in hand with rules. This article considers the advantages and disadvantages of the concept of “responsibility to protect”, which proves to be dominant today. The author also poses the question about the transition to a new focus of international law — from maintaining peace to meeting social requirements.


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