Author: Zaid Zaid 1
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  • 1 Sharjah University Division of Law P. o. Box 27272 Sharjah United Arab Emirates
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The concept of humanitarian intervention evolved as a subset of laws that govern the use of force and now, it occupies an institutional position alongside Security Council authorization and self-defense as a legitimate and legal reason for war. Humanitarian intervention and use of force both are highly controversial yet widely accepted. This paper will evaluate whether humanitarian intervention is legitimate under international law. Humanitarian intervention contradicts the United Nations Charter but state practice developments since the Second World War have made it legitimate under a number of circumstances. Those who have argued for its legitimacy cite international norms and state practice to support the assertion that the provision for military aggression is no longer what is enshrined in the UN Charter. The debate on the legality of humanitarian intervention indicates that it could either be legitimate or illegitimate depending on how one comprehends the construction, changing and representation of international law. It is certain that there are no definite answers to these questions. This uncertainty is now fundamental since the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention is indeterminate. Discussions over this law have not solved this puzzle. It remains legal and illegal at the same time, with recent cases not withstanding depending with the circumstances. This paper evaluates the repercussions of this finding for the sake of the rule of law in world politics. The paper suggests that customary prominence that scholars place on compliance with international law is misplaced. The power of international law from scholars’ point of view comes from its capacity to shape the terrain for balance of political power in international relations rather than differentiating rule followers and rule breakers. International law should be perceived as a resource for state use rather than a fixed standard of evaluating behavior.