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As declared by the International Court of Justice, the non-intervention norm is one of the most foundational norms in international relations today (International Court of Justice 1969). The non-intervention norm governs a variety of inter-state behavior, from official public statements to the use of force, which can intrude on a state’s domestic affairs. It is widely accepted among the global community of states. This chapter focuses specifically on how the norm regulates the use of inter-state force and its exceptions. One exception in particular permits states to use force against another state for humanitarian purposes. This exception has yet to be codified in international law, yet, historically and currently, state practice suggests a general acceptance that the parameters of the non-intervention norm allow for these humanitarian exceptions. However, much as is the case with the civilian immunity norm, ambiguity has plagued the non-intervention norm, impeding intersubjective agreement and generating contestation. This chapter illustrates these dynamics by first providing a historical overview of the norm and its humanitarian exceptions as well as the ambiguity contained within them. It then discusses dominant explanations for non-compliance with the norm, highlighting their assumption of intersubjective agreement among normative actors. The chapter continues with a discussion of how the logics of appropriateness, practicality, and contestedness within the norm contestation framework utilized here apply to the non-intervention norm and humanitarian intervention. This discussion is then followed by an exploration of how the norm contestation framework contributes to our understanding of the global discussion on Russia’s actions in Crimea as captured by the global media and official statements. It does so by illustrating how despite its long-held embrace of the norm and the idea of humanitarian intervention, Russia’s attempts to justify the Crimean intervention revealed an understanding of the norm which greatly differed from those held by the norm enforcer. The chapter continues by arguing that Russia’s willingness to maintain a commitment to this particular normative understanding was more indicative of the logic of appropriateness informed by the logic of contestedness and the logic of practicality than the logic of consequences.
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- Contestation in the Non-intervention Norm
- Chapter 4
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