Russian Law Journal

Advanced search



Use of force is one of the principles of international law which has been banned by the UN Charter and modern constitutions. However, since the enforcement of the UN Charter, self-defense has become the preferred excuse for states to justify their use of force. But applying self-defense requires some conditions. Immediacy is one of the important conditions of self-defense. Immediacy defined as the time span between armed attacks and reaction to it, is the main discourse. This condition requires self defense immediately after the armed conflict or during a rational time span since its occurance.

In this respect, the emerging Karabakh Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the 1990s is important. After Armenia’s armed attacks, Azerbaijan has acted within the scope of legitimate self-defense. But in accordance with UN Security Council cease-fire resolution Azerbaijan has suspended its self-defense actions. However, today, still twenty percent of Azerbaijani territory is still under Armenian occupation. Accordingly, after a long time the validity of Azerbaijan’s right to legitimate self-defense is still subject to arguments.

In this article, by comparing two different approaches (strict and board interpretation approaches) on the temporal link between the measures of self-defense and the armed attacks (immediacy), the temporal link between the self-defense countermeasures of Azerbaijan and armed attacks by Armenia in Karabakh Conflict will be examined.

About the Author

Saeed Bagheri



1. Abasov, Ali and Khachatrian, Haroutiun, The Karabakh Conflict Variants of Settlement: Concepts and Reality (Third edition, Baku-Yerevan: Areat, Noyan Tapan Publications 2006).

2. Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, ICJ Report 66 (1996).

3. A. Rogoff, Martin and Collins, Edward, ‘The Caroline Incident and the Development of International Law’, (2003) 16 Brooklyn Journal of International Law 3.

4. Aust, Anthony, Handbook of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005).

5. Aust, Anthony , Handbook of International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005).

6. Barboza, J., ‘Necessity (Revisited) in International Law’, in . Jerzy Makarczyk (ed), Essays in International Law in Honour of Judge M. Lachs (Boston: M. Nijhoff 1984).

7. Bowett, Derek, ‘Reprisals Involving Recourse to Armed Force’ (1972) 66 AJIL 3.

8. C. Hyde, Charles, International Law Chiefly as Interpreted and Applied by the United States (Vol. 3, Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1945).

9. Case Concerning Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America), ICJ Reports 6 November 2003.

10. Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) ICJ Reports (1986).

11. “Contemporary Challenges to IHL - Occupation: Overview”, (11-06-2012 Overview) erview-occupation.htm, accessed 15 December 2014.

12. Clark Arend, Anthony J. Beck, Robert, International Law and the Use of Force: Beyond the U.N. Charter Paradigm (UK: Psychology Press 1993).

13. Combacau, J., ‘The Exception of Self-Defense in U.N. Practice’, in Antonio Cassese (ed), The Current Legal Regulation of the Use of Force (Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986).

14. Combacau, Jean, ‘The Exception of Self-Defense in U.N. Practice’, in Antonio Cassese (ed), The Current Legal Regulation of the Use of Force (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986).

15. D. Gill, Terry, ‘The Temporal Dimension of Self-Defense: Anticipation, Pre-emption, Prevention and Immediacy’ (2006) 11 Journal of Conflict & Security Law 3.

16. D. Bailey, Sydney, ‘Cease-Fires, Truces, and Armistices in the Practice of the UN Security Council’ (1977) 71 AJIL.

17. Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, G.A. res. 2625, Annex, 25 UN GAOR, Supp. (No. 28), U.N. Doc. A/5217 at 121 (1970), accessed May 20, 2014,, accessed 15 December 2014.

18. Dinstein, Yoram, War, Agression and Self-Defense (3’nd. Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002).

19. F. Damrosch, Lori, et al., International Law: Cases and Materials, (Fourth ed. West Publishing Co. 2001).

20. Gardam, Judith, Necessity, Proportionality and the Use of Force by States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

21. H. Kaikobad, Kaiyan, ‘Jus ad Bellum: Legal Implications of the Iran-Iraq War’, in Ige F.Dekker and Harry H.G.Post (eds), The Gulf War of 1980-1988 (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1992).

22. International Law Commission, Report on the Work of its Fifty-Third Session, Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-Sixth Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/56/10),, accessed 15 December 2014.

23. J. Tams, Christian, ‘The Necessity and Proportionality of Anti-Terrorist Self-Defense’, in Larissa Van Den Herik and Nico Schrijver (eds), Counter-Terrorism Strategies in a Fragmented International Legal Order: Meeting the Challenges, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013).

24. Jennings, R.Y., ‘The Caroline and McLeod Case’ (1938) 32 AJIL 1.

25. Kenny, K.C., ‘Self-Defense’, in Rüdiger Wolfrum and Christiane Philipp (eds), United Nations: Law, Policies and Practice (Vol. 2, Boston: M. Nijhoff 1995).

26. Keskin, Funda, Use of Force in International Law: War, Intervention and United Nations (Ankara: Mülkiyeliler Birliği Vakfı, 1998).

27. Krüger, Heiko, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: A Legal Analysis (Berlin: Springer Publications 2009).

28. Lobel, Jules, ‘The Use of Force to Respond to Terrorist Attacks: The Bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan’ (1999) 24 YJIL.

29. Martyn, Angus, ‘The Right of Self Defense under International Law; The Response to the Terrorist Attacks of 11 September’, (2002) Current Issues Brief No. 8, 2001-2002, 2002, accessed 15 December 2014.

30. Müllerson, Rein & J. Scheffer, David, ‘Legal Regulation of the Use of Force’, in Lori Fisler Damrosch, Gennady M Danilenko and Rein Mullerson (eds), Beyond Confrontation International Law for the Post-Cold War Era (Colarado: Westview Press 1995).

31. N. Schmitt, Michael, ‘Preemptive Strategies in International Law’ (2003) 24 MJIL.

32. Niv, Ady, ‘The International Court of Justice under the Scrutiny of Article 51’ (2005) 2 IDFLR.

33. Reismann, W. Michael, ‘The Raid on Baghdad: Some Reflections on Its Lawfulness and Implications’, (1994) 5 EJIL 1.

34. Reisman, W. Michael, ‘The Struggle for the Falklands’ (1983) 93 Yale Law Journal.

35. Schachter, Oscar, ‘The Right of States to Use Armed Force’ (1984) 82 Michigan Law Review 5/6.

36. “Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of Its Eighteenth Session”, 18th Session, Geneva (4 May - 19 July 1966), Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2, New York (1967).

37. V. Glahn, G. Ernst and Larry Taulbee, J. , Law Among Nations: An Introduction to Public International Law (7th Edition, Boston: Allyn and Bacon 1996).


For citation:

Bagheri S. SELF-DEFENSE IN KARABAKH CONFLICT? Russian Law Journal. 2015;3(4). (In Russ.)

Views: 1489

ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)