Another hole in the Wall? Evaluating the legality of Egypt's 2017 airstrikes against non-state actors in Libya under the jus ad bellum

Daley J. Birkett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

In May 2017, the Egyptian armed forces conducted airstrikes against non-State targets in the neighbouring State of Libya in response to a series of attacks perpetrated against groups of Coptic Christians on Egyptian territory, killings later claimed by the self-styled Islamic State. In justifying its use of armed force, resort to which is generally impermissible in international law, Egypt purports to rely upon two exceptions to this general rule, namely: (i) authorisation on the part of the United Nations Security Council; and (ii) self-defence, while also invoking the doctrine of military assistance on request (or intervention by invitation). This article tests the legality of Egypt’s airstrikes—which have yet to be subjected to scholarly attention—in light of the three foregoing justifications. In so doing, the article evaluates the implications of this use of force for the jus ad bellum, particularly the law regulating resort to force by way of response to an armed attack for which not another State, but a non-State actor, is responsible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-114
Number of pages32
JournalNetherlands International Law Review
Volume69
Issue number1
Early online date3 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Jus ad bellum
  • Military assistance on request
  • Non-state actors
  • Self-defence
  • United Nations Security Council
  • Use of force

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