The Use of Force against Syria in Response to Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons by Syria: A Return to Humanitarian Intervention?
Aniel Caro de Beer/Dire Tladi
On 13.4.2018, France, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) initiated air strikes on Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government on Syrian nationals. The justifications offered by these states for these strikes resuscitated the debate as to whether, under jus ad bellum, there is a humanitarian intervention exception in respect of the prohibition on the use of force. This article adopts a doctrinal approach in considering whether the recent action against Syria affected the state of the law on the use of force in this regard. It thus considers whether a state, or a group of states, can intervene militarily in another state in order to protect the population of the latter state. This enquiry includes a discussion on the current state of the law on the use of force, humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect.