Collective Humanitarian Intervention

This article discusses collective intervention authorized by the Security Council, with a special emphasis on the concept of exclusive domestic jurisdiction. Part I first examines the different meanings of the notoriously ambiguous word “intervention.” Because the legitimacy of collective intervention will depend in part on whether or not the matter falls within the domestic jurisdiction of the target state, Part II will then discuss contemporary views of domestic jurisdiction. Finally, Parts III and IV discuss collective humanitarian intervention under the principles of the U.N. Charter and examine the practice of the Security Council since the end of the Cold War. This article concludes that international law today recognizes, as a matter of practice, the legitimacy of collective forcible humanitarian intervention – of military measures authorized by the Security Council for the purpose of remedying serious human rights violations. While traditionally the only ground for collective military action has been the need to respond to breaches of the peace, especially aggression, the international community now has accepted a norm that allows collective humanitarian intervention to respond to serious human rights abuses.