Punitive Intervention: Enforcing Justice or Generating Conflict?

  • Anthony F. LangJr


Humanitarian intervention, while controversial, has become more acceptable as a reason for using military force in the last twenty years. But humanitarian intervention may be giving way to a related, yet distinct, form of intervention. This new form of intervention is characterised by a desire to punish wrongdoers, whether they are individual leaders or whole states, a phenomenon I call punitive intervention. Punitive intervention can be defined as the use of military force across national boundaries to alter the internal affairs of a state that has violated international law or other widely recognised international norms. A punitive intervention aims to deter future violations, to rehabilitate the offending state (usually by replacing its government), or to exact retribution.


Security Council Military Force Bush Administration Legitimate Authority Catholic Bishop 


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© Anthony F. Lang Jr 2005

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  • Anthony F. LangJr

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