This article investigates the reach of the United Nations Charter's legal regime created to govern the use of interstate armed force with a view to examining the permissibility of anticipatory self-defence. It examines the pre-Charter law on the use of force; the drafting and language of the Charter; and the international legal cases that address use of force. The article concludes that international law prohibits anticipatory self-defence and thus leaves no doubt that preemptive force is illegal.
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