Intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states by other sovereign state(s) is one of the “trending” issues in international law today. The issue is so because of the rising concept of the universality of human rights with the world shrinking into a single global community. International law and relations has from the time of the Westphalia Treaty of 1648 held the concept of sovereignty and its twin feature of equality of states and the principle of non-interference in high regard. Until recently, the concept of sovereignty has long been regarded as the bedrock of international relations. However, the doctrine of 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 genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes. Humanitarian intervention is a controversial concept in international law.
It is not provided for by the United Nations Charter as it neither constitutes a legitimate use of force authorized by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) nor the use of force in self-defence. Article2(4) of the United Nations Charter clearly prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. However, since the creation of the United Nations Organization in 1945, there have been many instances of intervention on humanitarian grounds and the practice has vigorously resurged after the cold war. This study considers the meaning of humanitarian intervention as well as the legal basis of the doctrine. The study will review some cases of humanitarian intervention so as to ascertain whether or not there is presently a right to humanitarian intervention in international law and finally make suggestions for the future of the doctrine. This study posits that the right to humanitarian intervention is legal both at the Pre-UN days and survives even the UN as a form of customary international law, not based on treaty law.
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APPRAISAL OF THE RIGHT TO HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION IN INTERNATIONAL LAW