This Note argues that the international community should relax prohibitions against unilateral humanitarian action until the international collective security measures of the U.N. Charter designed to prevent egregious human rights abuses are effective. Because modern technology has significantly increased the ability to discern pretextual actions from altruistic actions, the potential abuse of unilateral humanitarian intervention is minimized. While the meaning of the word “intervention” in itself is subject to debate, this Note will consider only military intervention. Part I of this Note discusses the historical background of humanitarian intervention. Part II first analyzes the arguments against legalization of humanitarian intervention, based on the U.N. Charter and state practice. Part II then analyzes the arguments for legalization and explains how the U.N. Charter and state practice can be read to mandate legality. Part III argues that the legalization of unilateral humanitarian intervention, within limits, would not create incentives for the doctrine's massive abuse as was once feared. This Note concludes that the legalization of limited unilateral humanitarian intervention would effectively balance human rights and legitimate state sovereignty, while maintaining international stability.
Barry M. Benjamin,
Unilateral Humanitarian Intervention: Legalizing the Use of Force to Prevent Human Rights Atrocities,
16 Fordham Int'l L.J. 120
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol16/iss1/4