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Between Artificiality and Malleability: Can an ‘Inherent’ Right to Self Defence Harmoniously Co-exis

It may be argued that, in such a politically fractured world, it has never been so important for the global community to have access to a crystalized and codified body of rules dictating the parameters of the use of military force (the jus ad bellum). However, it may simultaneously be suggested that the prohibition against the use of force is becoming increasingly unstable and incoherent. Although to some extent paradoxical, it may be argued that Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter sits both ambiguously and supremely at the nucleus of the jus ad bellum. Whilst historically considered the cornerstone of a universally recognised prohibition against the use of force, this paper will isolate Article 2(4) from within the overarching framework of the jus ad bellum, offsetting it against the inherent right to self-defence which is prescribed within the same Treaty. By juxtaposing Article 2(4) with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, this paper will critically demonstrate that Article 2(4) merely prescribes an artificial law against war, as Article 2(4) is moulded by the legal and political manipulation of Article 51. This paper will highlight the necessity of re-formulating and re-defining Article 2(4).

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