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Excerpts from a lecture on MC by Alan Scheflin

Allen L. Barker alb at datafilter.com
Fri Dec 10 03:02:31 EST 2004

to justify their invasion of Norway.40 Instead, the Nuremberg Tribunal
explicitly endorsed the well-known Caroline Case (1837), thus enshrining
this test as a basic principle of the post-World War II international
legal order: "It must be remembered that preventive action in foreign
territory is justified only in case of 'an instant and over-whelming
necessity for self-defense, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of
deliberation' (The Caroline Case)." Moreover, in order to further
justify their preventive war against Norway, the Nazi defendants argued
that in accordance with reservations on self-defense made at the time of
the conclusion of the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928, Germany alone
could decide whether preventive action was a necessity, and also that in
making such a decision, Germany's judgment was conclusive. In rejecting
this Nazi self-judging argument on self-defense, the Nuremberg Tribunal
emphatically ruled: "But whether action taken under the claim of
self-defense was in fact aggressive or defensive must ultimately be
subject to investigation and adjudication if international law is ever
to be enforced."

Today the basic test for self-defense recognized by the international
legal order is set forth in article 51 of the United Nations Charter:
"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of
individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against
a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken
measures necessary to maintain internatio

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