17 May 2019

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In this book, self-defence against non-state actors is examined by three scholars whose geographical, professional, theoretical, and methodological backgrounds and outlooks differ greatly. Their trialogue is framed by an introduction and a conclusion by the series editors. The novel scholarly format accommodates the pluralism and value changes of the current era, a shifting world order and the rise in nationalism and populism. 

It brings to light the cultural, professional and political pluralism which characterises international legal scholarship and exploits this pluralism as a heuristic device. This multiperspectivism exposes how political factors and intellectual styles influence the scholarly approaches and legal answers and the trialogical structure encourages its participants to decentre their perspectives. By explicitly focussing on the authors' divergence and disagreement, a richer understanding of self-defence against non-state actors is achieved, and the legal challenges and possible ways ahead identified.

About the publication

Part of Max Planck Trialogues


Anne Peter, Christian Marxsen, Dire Tladi, Christian J. Tams, Mary Ellen O'Connell

  • Publication planned for: June 2019
  • Availability: Not yet published - available from June 2019
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781316641125

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the series: trialogical international law
Anne Peters

Introduction: dilution of self-defence and its discontents
Anne Peters and Christian Marxsen

  1. The use of force in self-defence against non-state actors, decline of collective security and the rise of unilateralism: whither international law?
    Dire Tladi
  2. Self-defence against non-state actors: making sense of the 'armed attack' requirement
    Christian J. Tams
  3. Self-defence, pernicious doctrines, peremptory norms
    Mary Ellen O'Connell

Conclusion: self-defence against non-state actors – the way ahead Christian Marxsen and Anne Peters.