Necessity and Proportionality

AuthorCraig Forcese
Chapter 29
Necessity and
Since 11 September, my Government has obtained clear and compelling
information that the Al-Qaeda organization, which is supported by the
Taliban regime in Afghanian, had a central role in the attacks. There is ill
much we do not know. Our iniry is in its early ages. We may f‌ind that
our self-defense reires further aions with respe to other organizations
and other States.
— john d neGroPonte, us aMBassador to the united nations (7 oCtoBer 2001)1
I 1986,  American soldiers and a Turkish woman were killed
by a bomb detonated in a Berlin discotheque, and more than
200 people were injured. That bombing was greeted enthusi-
astically by Libya’s leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddaf‌i. The United
States claimed, in addition, conclusive evidence of direct Libyan
involvement in the bombing. Ten days after the terrorist killing, US
warplanes bombed Libya, dropping sixty tons of munitions on mainly
military targets, but also hitting some residential locations and kill-
ing an estimated thirty civilians — among them (allegedly) Hana Gad-
daf‌i, the Libyan leader’s daughter.2 In justifying its conduct, the US
ambassador to the United Nations argued that the United States acted
in self-defence against Libya’s “continued policy of terrorist threats
and the use of force, in violation of . . . Article 2(4) of the Charter.”3 The
United States stated that it had exhausted all peaceful means of try-
ing to change Libya’s behaviour. It confronted, however, an “ongoing
pattern of attacks” by Libya against US citizens and installations,
and claimed it had evidence of future planned terrorist actions. Its

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