Readings: Daniel Bethlehem on Principles Governing Self Defense Against Non-State Actors
Former UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Legal Adviser Daniel Bethlehem has just published an important piece in the latest issue of the American Journal of International Law. The article, entitled “Self-Defense Against an Imminent or Actual Armed Attack by Nonstate Actors,” identifies a current gap between scholarship on jus ad bellum (JAB) issues and the operational needs and actions of states. His piece then seeks to fill that gap by articulating 16 principles relevant to the use of force against non-state actors. The principles span the waterfront of difficult JAB issues, including which non-state actors may be treated as conducting or contributing to armed attacks, when armed attacks may be regarded as “imminent,” and when a state may use force in another state’s territory in self-defense against a non-state actor.