The Issue Of Humanitarian Intervention

1534 WordsApr 15, 20167 Pages
The current consensus in the international community understands that nations, like individuals, have basic rights, namely, the right to territorial integrity and political sovereignty. When another nation violates these rights, it is considered an act of aggression. However, there certainly are situations where a violation of territorieal integrity or political sovereignty is justified, namely humanitarian intervention, “thus use of military force against another state when the chief publicly declared aim of that military action is ending human-rights violations being perpetrated by the state against which it is directed.” The issue of humanitarian intervention has been at the forefront of international relations discourse, particularly…show more content…
In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill argues that the only legitimate basis for limiting the individual’s liberty, in the liberal democratic state, is to prevent harm to others. In his words, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” This is now considered the Harm Principle. The Legalist Paradigm seeks to extend this liberty to the states themselves as well. It is a modern, secular and legalistic interpretation of Classical Just War Theory, which reflects conventions of law and order based upon the analogy of states to individuals. It took root in the writings of the Catholic theologian Francisco de Vitoria and the Dutch jurist, Hugo Grotius and also from the Treaty of Westphalia at the end of the Thirty Years War in the 17th Century, which led to the formal and legal recognition of independent, sovereign nation-states and their rights to territorial integrity and political sovereignty. The Legalist Paradigm consists of six claims. The first two claims outline the existence of an international society of independent nation-states that have agreed upon the rights of its members to territorial integrity and political sovereignty. Thus, the third claims defines aggression as the use of force to threaten the rights of another state.
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