Walking an International Tightrope: Use of Military Force to Counter Terrorism


The UN Charter reflects the drafters’ singular focus on creating a political system to govern conflicts between states. It does not directly address the subtler modes in which terrorists began to operate in the post-World War II period. The drafters did not contemplate the existence of international terrorists nor their tenacity and access to technology. In view of the fact that terrorist groups appear to have reached a global sophistication, there is little doubt that international terrorism presents a threat with which traditional theories for the use of military force are inadequate to deal with, and were not contemplated when the UN Charter was drafted. This Article is premised on the theme that the right to self-defence is enrolled in a process of change. The focal point of state practice in the Article is the United States, which has long sought to articulate, through official policy, use of force as a counter-terrorism measure.


International Law

Date of this Version

May 2006