The Meaning of Article 2(4) in the U.N. Charter
Revised from Chapter 3 in International Law: Process and Prospect (Anthony D'Amato, 2d ed. 1995)
16 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2013
Date Written: September 6, 2013
The threatened ballistic missile attack upon Syria by the United States, in retaliation for the Syrian government’s use of chemical warfare against its own people, has elicited opinions from international lawyers and scholars on the question whether such an attack would violate international law. Invariably the legal source that is cited is Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter. The language of Article 2(4), because it stands alone and is not tied to nor dependent upon any of the other provisions of the UN Charter, is perhaps the most important rule of international law in the modern era.
Keywords: United Nations, U.N. Charter Article 2(4), Syria, territorial integrity, political independence, Damascus, Bashar al-Assad, sarin, chemical weapons, civil war, rebellion
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K30, K33, O38, N95, N4, N45, N40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation