‘State failure’ and the extraterritorial use of force in self-defence against non-state actors

Blachura, A. 2016. ‘State failure’ and the extraterritorial use of force in self-defence against non-state actors. PhD thesis University of Westminster Westminster Law School

Title‘State failure’ and the extraterritorial use of force in self-defence against non-state actors
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsBlachura, A.

The thesis is first and foremost the examination of the notion and consequences of ‘state failure’ in international law. The disputes surrounding criteria for creation and recognition of states pertain to efforts to analyse legal and factual issues unravelling throughout the continuing existence of states, as best evidenced by the ‘state failure’ phenomenon. It is argued that although the ‘statehood’ of failed states remains uncontested, their sovereignty is increasingly considered to be dependent on the existence of effective governments.

The second part of this thesis focuses on the examinations of the legal consequences of the continuing existence of failed states in the context of jus ad bellum. Since the creation of the United Nations the ability of states to resort to armed force without violating what might be considered as the single most important norm of international law, has been considerably limited. State failure and increasing importance of non-state actors has become a greatly topical issue within recent years in both scholarship and the popular imagination. There have been important legal developments within international law, which have provoked much academic, and in particular, legal commentary. On one level, the thesis contributes to this commentary.

Despite the fact that the international community continues to perpetuate a notion of ‘statehood’ which allows the state-centric system of international law to exist, when dealing with practical and political realities of state failure, international law may no longer consider external sovereignty of states as an undeniable entitlement to statehood. Accordingly, the main research question of this thesis is whether the implicit and explicit invocation of the state failure provides sufficient legal basis for the intervention in self-defence against non-state actors in located in failed states. It has been argued that state failure has a profound impact, the extent of which is yet to be fully explored, on the modern landscape of peace and security.


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