New edition of the Journal on the Use of Force and International Law

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.


We meant to publicise the arrival of the Journal on the Use of Force and International Law months ago, but as Rogier reported before Christmas our time to devote to the blog has been reduced of late due to the fact that we are both in the final stages of our PhDs (we will be back soon). The journal promises to be an excellent edition to the academic resources available on the topic of jus ad bellum. 

The latest issue of the new journal Use of Force and International Law has an excellent review of the legality of the use of force against the Islamic State by Christian Henderson. In his editorial comment, Henderson examines some of the difficult questions of international law that surround the air strikes in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State. So far, these issues have been mainly discussed on the blogosphere (e.g. on Just Security,here, here and here) and include questions relating to the legality of the strikes in Syria versus Iraq, the significance of the perceived illegitimacy of the Assad regime and the coalition’s ability to justify the strikes as individual or collective self defence. In his discussion, Henderson reviews the ‘unable or unwilling’ doctrine which the US is relying on to justify its strikes and also considers the relevance of the fact that the Assad regime does indeed seem willing to fight to eradicate IS.

Other articles on topics relevant to armed groups and international law in the journal’s last two editions include:-

Remote Law Making? American Drone Strikes and the Development of jus ad bellum by Marie Aronsson

Making Sense of Self-Defence in the War on Terror by Joe Boyle

The Crisis in Syria and Humanitarian Intervention by Anders Henriksen and Marc Schack

The Journal on the Use of Force and International Law also includes a Digest of State Practice which is designed to keep track of all relevant state practice and opinio juris in the field of jus ad bellum. It covers unilateral uses of force, Security Council authorised Chapter VII operations, as well as interventions by invitation, ‘rescue of nationals’ operations etc. It is intended to provide a research tool for scholars, legal advisors and students working on issues relating to jus ad bellum. 

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