Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law

Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Nigel White and Christian Henderson

This innovative Research Handbook brings together leading international law scholars from around the world to discuss and highlight the contemporary debate regarding issues of conflict prevention and the legality of resorting to the use of armed force through to those arising during an armed conflict and in the phase between conflict and peace.

Introduction: international conflict and security law

Christian Henderson and Nigel D. White

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, public international law, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, terrorism and security


It has perhaps become something of a truism to say that the attacks of 11 September 2001 (hereinafter ‘9/11’) and subsequent events led to a reconsideration of the fundamental rules that govern international security and armed conflicts. Yet, as this Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law aims to demonstrate, the results of this reconsideration are still not altogether clear. What is clear, however, is that the relevant debates as to what the current state of the law is – or ought to be – stretch right across the boundaries of international conflict and security law. The direct response to the attacks of 9/11 asked fundamental questions of the legal rules and principles governing the use of force, otherwise known as the jus ad bellum. In particular, questions were asked as to when actions in self-defence can lawfully take place, and, perhaps most importantly, against whom they may be taken and the weapons and tactics that may be employed in doing so. However, subsequent uses of force by the United States and its allies, particularly in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011, raised important questions as to the role and relevance of the United Nations Security Council, including where the authority in deciding upon the necessity for enforcement action employing the use of force and in interpreting its resolutions is positioned. Similarly, the normative debates concerning the relevance of the prohibition of the use of force were, as ever, lively and often polarised.