The Use of Force in the Kosovo Affair and International Law Paris : Ifri, 2001. - 42 p. (Transatlantic series), (Notes de l'Ifri, No. 22 bis)
An analysis of the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo in the eyes of international law and the UN Charter.
The 1999 use of force in Kosovo by several NATO members was justified more by its legitimacy than by its legality -it was a fair war but not a lawful one. It has seemed to raise a few objections in respect of international law, the UN Charter and the North Atlantic Treaty.
However, to build a legal theory that matches today's positive law is quite possible. Such theory should not only be connected with ethics, but also stand at a crossroad between legal and strategic thought. It would indeed suppose not only that the different hypotheses allowing the use of force be defined, but also that its implementation respond to humanitarian goals.
Kosovo's case could have been used as an opportunity to assert this theory et develop its legal conditions and military consequences. This opportunity was missed. Far from being exemplary, NATO members' action in Kosovo probably will not remain an exception.
Serge Sur is accredited to the Faculty of Law and Professor of International Relations at the University Paris II where he heads the Thucydides Center for Analysis and Research in International Relations. He was the Associate Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).
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