- The Principle of Sovereign Equality with respect to Wars with Non-State Actors
- Volume | Issue number
- 41 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
The desire to defend a state against attacks by a non-state actor requires thinking about counter-attacking without violating the sovereign equality of the territorial state because targeting a non-state actor on the territory of that state may violate its sovereignty. This paper evaluates the main views on self-defense by states against non-state actors by studying the Just War Theory and argues that self-defense against a non-state actor is allowed if the counter-attack complies with the principle of sovereign equality. Sovereign equality is the prohibition of states from dominion over other states because states are equal to one another. This principle can be respected by allowing self-defense against non-state actors to occur only if the state consented to the use of force on its territory or if that state is incapable of controlling or unwilling to control the non-state actor.
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