The Arab Spring, Massive Violations of Human Rights and the Use of Force

Dino Kritsiotis


This article is based on a presentation given at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London on 25 October 2012 on the occasion of its Annual Conference and its theme for this year of “International Law, the Rule of Law and Constitutional Change.”

I must begin by saying that the topic of my presentation — ‘Massive Violations of Human Rights and the Use of Force’ in the context of the Arab Spring — was not one of personal design reached after moments of prolonged deliberation — but, rather, in a very good old-fashioned way, it was allocated to me by the conveners of the annual conference for the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. I volunteer this background fact only because I think it would be quite useful to commence by explaining some of the challenges associated with the formulation of ‘massive violations of human rights’ of the Arab Spring and then relating that matter to the ‘use of force’ — itself quite an instructive term because it does tend to delimit our thinking about how States and international organisations strategise toward chosen ends, when, as we know full well, threats of force have become a rather significant part of modern international relations and are deserving of the same critical scrutiny afforded to uses of force under the regimen of the Charter of the United Nations...


Human rights violations; use of force; Arab Spring; humanitarian intervention; Nicaragua Case; Oppenheim; Libya; Security Council

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