The legality of humanitarian intervention
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Intervention in the domestic affairs of sovereign states by other sovereign state(s) is one of the ‘hot’ issues in international law today. The issue is ‘hot’ because the concept of human rights is on the ascendancy whilst international law had from time immemorial held the concept of sovereignty and its key feature, the principle of non-interference in high esteem. In fact, the concept of sovereignty has long been regarded as the bedrock of international relations. However, the doctrine of unilateral humanitarian intervention allows state(s) to intervene in the domestic affairs of sovereign states in the event of massive human rights violations, usually in the form of mass murders and genocide. The doctrine of humanitarian intervention, therefore, is an affront to one of the core principles of international law, namely, “non-interference” and as such its validity is hotly contested. This paper examines the legality of the doctrine of unilateral humanitarian intervention.