The UK Government's legal opinion on forcible measures in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government

Henderson, Christian (2015) The UK Government's legal opinion on forcible measures in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government. International & Comparative Law Quarterly, 64 (1). pp. 179-196. ISSN 0020-5893

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Abstract

On 29 August 2013, the UK government published a memorandum setting out its ‘position regarding the legality of military action in Syria following the chemical weapons attack in Eastern Damascus on 21 August 2013’. While other States had contemplated some form of military action, most notably the US, none had been as clear and candid as to the legal basis upon which this would be launched. It might seem in this respect perhaps a little surprising that the UK decided in its relatively brief opinion that ‘the legal basis for military action would be humanitarian intervention’. As this article will attempt to highlight, this basic justification is far from uncontroversial. This short article will seek to be clear as to what the UK's legal position exactly was, whether and how this position can be reconciled with the lex lata governing the use of force for humanitarian purposes and its immediate impact upon it, and finally offer some reflections upon the contribution the opinion and its central legal argument has made to future legal argumentation in this area.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Christian Henderson
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 15:41
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2018 15:41
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78500

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