The concept of Self-Defence against non-State Actors in International Law and the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine

Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Thick smoke, from an airstrike by the US-led coalition against ISIL militants, rises in Kobani, Syria, on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Author: Giacomo Toffanello

Over the last fifteen years, self-defence has been increasingly used by several governments as a justification to militarily intervene within the sovereignty of another state, especially to target non-state actors such as rebel groups or terrorist organisations; but how can these interventions cope with the prohibition of the use of force stated in the UN Charter? In this article Giacomo Toffanello, a Master’s Student in International Security and Law, will try to answer this question and to give a clearer picture of the legal framework that governs Self-Defence against Non-State Actors.

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