1 Afr. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 85 (1989)
International Law and Wars of National Liberation: Use of Force and Intervention

handle is hein.journals/afjincol1 and id is 111 raw text is: INTERNATIONAL LAW AND WARS OF NATIONAL
In recent years the United Nations General Assembly has unequivocally
supported certain national liberation movements in their struggle to
achieve self-determination and independence. By a series of Resolutions
dating back to the mid-1960s, the General Assembly has confirmed that
their ultimate goal is consistent with international law and has declared
that the armed struggle is a legitimate means of achieving it. Accordingly,
the General Assembly has called upon all States to assist national
liberation movements, it has strongly condemned States that directly or
indirectly contribute towards suppressing them and has granted some of
them special Observer status within the United Nations system.
On the face of it, these resolutions seem to contradict two essential
rules of the contemporary international legal system: the rule prohibiting
the use of force and the one prohibiting intervention in the affairs of
another state. Alternatively, these Resolutions could be regarded as
consistent with international law on the exceptional ground that national
liberation movements are using force to secure self-determination. What
then is the legal status of General Assembly Resolutions in support of
national liberation movements? Are they simply null and void or do they
reflect the international community's capacity to adapt its law to changing
political circumstances?
The foregoing questions raise many issues of great intellectual interest
such as how international law is made and whether, and if so how, it
adapts to historical changes. But apart from these mainly academic issues,
an analysis of the legality of General Assembly Resolutions in support of
wars of national liberation is of immediate practical interest. For these
Resolutions could give the impression, albeit false, that the General
Assembly is undermining the foundations of the international legal
system, that it is supporting terrorist organisations bent on causing death
and destruction for their own sake and that, in any event, the General
Assembly is introducing a further element of instability to the already
fragile framework of international relations. Not surprisingly, this view of
* Lecturer in Law, University of Warwick.
I-RADIC (1989)

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