Kosovo: A Powerful Precedent for the Doctrine of Humanitarian Intervention
Fernando R. Tesón
Florida State University, US
About Fernando R.
Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar. This article is excerpted from my book Humanitarian Intervention: An Inquiry into Law and Morality, 3rd edition fully revised and updated, Transnational Publishers 2005. Copyright 2008 Fernando R. Tesón.
NATO’s action in Kosovo constitutes the most important modern precedent for the legitimacy of unauthorized humanitarian intervention in appropriate cases. The article briefly examines the fact and shows that NATO countries evinced humanitarian intent. It then discusses the arguments against the legitimacy of the intervention and finds them wanting. In particular, critics of the intervention fail to explain why the incident is discarded as state practice. The article claims that world reaction to Kosovo, as well as appropriate interpretation of applicable law, confirm the validity of the precedent.