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Self-defense, as a reason to deter illegality, refers to when a person receives an immediate and illegal attack from others and has no opportunity to resort to the law for resisting the attack, and takes reasonable force against the offender to defend himself from bodily harm. Under this circumstance, the attack on the perpetrator is legal, and no crime is established.
The use of force in self-defense must first have the violent behavior of the other party, or at least the self-defense person must reasonably believe in the existence of illegal violent behavior of others. Illegal acts of violence generally include criminal acts, such as murder, non-premeditated murder, attempted assault, assault, etc., and torts (usually assault and intimidation). You cannot use violence to defend yourself against legal force.
The condition for self-defense by force against the persecution is that the self-defending person must reasonably believe that:
(1) I am in danger of immediate and illegal bodily harm;
(2) The force used in self-defense is necessary to avoid this danger.
The degree of force used in self-defense must be within a reasonable limit. The law believes that the degree of force in self-defense must be the degree of force that the self-defender intends to resist the injurious behavior. The degree of force has a reasonable reciprocal relationship, and the non-lethal blow to the other party, that is, pure bodily injury. Threats can only be used for self-defense with non-deadly force; for a fatal blow to the opponent, that is, the threat of death and serious bodily injury, one can use deadly force for self-defense. However, lethal force cannot be used for self-defense against non-lethal blows by the opponent, because such self-defense exceeds the limit of reasonable force.
When faced with the danger of a fatal blow, can the victim definitely fight back with lethal force? Some laws and jurisprudence emphasize that retreat steps must be taken first, and only when they cannot retreat to avoid a fatal blow. Lethal force is used for self-defense. Other laws or jurisprudence do not require the first step of retreat. See "Necessity of Retreat".
Prerequisite for the right of self-defense
The exercise of the right to self-defense is caused by armed attacks on the country. Article 51 of the Charter does not specifically explain what constitutes an armed attack, and there is no definition of the concept in the records of the San Francisco Constitutional Convention. This makes the characterization of an armed attack a highly controversial issue.
(1) Armed attacks and imminent armed attacks have occurred
The focus of contention is whether an armed attack means an armed attack that has already occurred. Some countries and scholars of international law have adopted a restrictive interpretation position, emphasizing the qualifier of Article 51 "when attacked by force", believing that the right of self-defense can be exercised "only" when a force attack occurs.
(2) Use of force and force to attack
Whether the use of force constitutes a force attack that causes the right to self-defense is another controversial issue. Some scholars believe that an armed attack can simply be an armed soldier firing a shot at the other end of the border. Other scholars believe that such an attack should be of a serious nature in order to induce the right to self-defense under Article 51. For example, Singh and McVeney believe that “only an attack on a ship or fact does not give rise to the right of self-defense, unless the attack is part of a full-scale armed attack or the beginning of a war.” (Note: Stanimir A. Alexandrov, Self-DefenseagainsttheUseofForceinInternational Law, P.97.) According to the latter point of view, only those uses of force with a serious degree constitute an attack by force, and those with less serious use of force are excluded from an attack by force.
Article 2(4) of the Charter prohibits the use of force, and Article 51 only allows self-defense measures against an armed attack. Obviously, the use of force is not the same as an armed attack. Only the use of force whose severity is equivalent to an armed attack constitutes an armed attack. In other words, as far as the right to self-defense is concerned, the use of force should be distinguished in nature.
(3) Attack weapons and force attacks
The requirements for armed attack are not affected by the type of weapon used. As emphasized by the International Court of Justice, Article 51 does not mention specific weapons. It applies to armed attacks regardless of the weapons used. In other words, armed attacks can be carried out with conventional or unconventional, primitive or advanced weapons.
Article 51 of the Charter does not stipulate who the country under armed attack will take self-defense actions against. According to the usual understanding, self-defense operations are targeted at countries engaged in illegal armed attacks. In other words, self-defense involves the legal relationship between the state and the state. Because the prohibitive rules of Article 2(4) apply to relations between countries, the "Resolution on the Definition of Aggression" also regulates the use of force by one country or in the name of another country.
In international law, a country is obliged not to allow its territory to be used as a base for terrorist attacks against another country. It is illegal for a country to tolerate the presence of terrorist organizations in its territory that conduct hostile activities against another country.
According to the "Draft Law on Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind", such tolerance even constitutes a crime under international law. When the host country can stop the terrorist attack or eliminate the terrorist organization after the attack occurs and refuse to take action, it cannot expect its territory to be used against the victimized country’s self-defense measures. National territory cannot be a haven for terrorist crimes, and the country must take responsibility for its connivance or asylum behavior. When a country’s government does not allow terrorist organizations to exist on its territory and is unable to stop and punish terrorist attacks, although the country is not responsible for it, the responsibility of the de facto government that exercises control over the terrorist organization remains unaffected. . Security Council Resolution 1368 clearly stipulates the responsibilities of funders and asylum seekers of terrorist attacks. The third paragraph of the resolution "calls on all countries to urgently cooperate to bring the perpetrators, organizers, and initiators of these terrorist attacks to justice, and emphasizes the need for assistance, support, or harbouring of these perpetrators, organizers, and initiators." People who want to be held accountable."
Right of self-defense time
According to Article 51 of the Charter, the injured country can freely decide when to take self-defense actions when it is attacked by force until the time before the Security Council adopts the necessary measures to maintain international peace and security. Obviously, this does not require a country to respond immediately by force when it is attacked. In customary international law, the exercise of the right of self-defense must be necessary, that is, "the exercise of self-defense must be urgent, overriding, without choice and time without consideration." This shows that only when force is attacked can force counterattack. When it is necessary, the exercise of the right to self-defense is reasonable and justified. There is no standard for judging which situations constitute the necessity of self-defense. Some scholars have suggested that there is a need for self-defense only when armed attacks have begun. In any other case, regardless of the nature of the threat of force, there is no need to use force to counterattack. Other scholars believe that there are two aspects of the necessary conditions that need to be considered, that is, the severity and imminence of the threat facing the defense country. In other words, it is only necessary to use force in self-defense to protect the basic security of the country and as the last resort in emergency situations.
The cessation of the attack and the termination of the right to self-defense also does not mean that there is still a need for self-defense after a considerable period of time after the end of the attack. It is generally believed that the act of self-defense against an armed attack should be immediate, that is, there should be no undue delay in time between an armed attack and the exercise of the right to self-defense.
Fulfilment of duties
The relationship between the right of self-defense and the performance of the duties of the Security Council
Self-Defense Force Warship
Self-Defense Force Warship
The Charter does not prohibit the exercise of the right of self-defense before the Security Council takes necessary measures when the country is under armed attack. What impact will the necessary measures taken by the Security Council have on the right of self-defense? Does it end or coexist? The charter has no further provisions.
There is a view that once the Security Council takes the necessary measures, the right of self-defense will cease. The opposite view argues that the Security Council cannot take the necessary measures to deprive the country of its right to self-defense. The former view has insurmountable flaws, and it will cause the injured State to tolerate the absurd consequences of the continued existence of illegal situations when the necessary means fail to achieve its goals. Since the right of self-defense is “inherent” to the country, the Security Council’s exercise of its duties certainly cannot terminate this right of the country. The first half sentence of Article 51 cannot be interpreted as the effect of sacrificing the right of self-defense when the Security Council takes necessary actions. The second half sentence shows the coexistence of the right of self-defense of the country and the power of the Security Council to a certain extent. At the San Francisco meeting, when the US delegation was discussing the draft provisions for self-defense, Dulles pointed out that when there is an attack, the Security Council has "parallel powers" with the attacked country.
Not all actions taken by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the Charter have the effect of terminating national self-defense measures. Whether these actions constitute necessary measures in fact must be determined on the basis of the facts of the individual case. The concept of necessary measures is obviously not in terms of the measures themselves being necessary, but the effectiveness of the measures, that is, they can actually restore international peace and security. If the Security Council decides in a legally binding resolution to take necessary military actions or order the cessation of the use of force, such as calling for a ceasefire, withdrawal or cessation of unilateral actions, the defending country will no longer have reasonable reasons to continue unilateral self-defense actions. If the actions of the Security Council are not substantially effective, such as only asking relevant parties to negotiate to resolve disputes, or failing to ask the defending country to stop using force, this will not prevent the country from continuing its self-defense actions.
Degree of self-defense
To what extent can the use of force in self-defense actually proceed, Article 51 does not provide any rules to follow. Since the right of self-defense is the right of a country to use force to counterattack when it is attacked by force, the actual extent of the use of force must be limited to the limit necessary to counterattack an attack by force. According to Webster’s words, self-defense behavior should not include “any unreasonable or excessive behavior, because the behavior on the grounds of the necessity of self-defense must be restricted by the necessity and clearly limited to the scope of the necessity.” This is what is usually done. The principle of proportionality. This is a principle in customary international law, which is generally accepted by countries, supported by international judicial judgments and agreed by scholars. In the "Nicaragua case", both parties agreed that one of the criteria for the lawful exercise of self-defense is proportionality. The International Court of Justice points out that only measures that are proportional to and necessary to respond to armed attacks are legitimate self-defense, which is a fully established rule in customary international law. Even the countermeasures taken against the behavior of interfering in internal affairs, the behavior that caused the counterattack and the counterattack itself should not be very serious in principle.
If the actual extent of the use of force is necessary to achieve the purpose of self-defense, such self-defense measures are proportional. However, there is no definite standard for the application of the principle of proportionality. In different situations, the requirements of the ratio are not the same. In one case, the ratio of the response may not be the same in the other. Therefore, whether the force response is proportional can only be judged based on all the circumstances of each event. The principle of proportionality requires that self-defense actions should stop once they have achieved their goals. The over-proportioned military actions are not self-defense, but armed retaliation. Armed retaliation is punitive and deterrent in nature, and its purpose is to "force the illegal country to compensate for the harm caused or return to the legal track, and prohibit further illegal acts."
The Declaration of Principles of International Law stipulates that all countries are obliged to avoid acts of retaliation involving the use of force.
Reporting obligations
Measures taken by the country in exercising its right of self-defense should be reported to the Security Council immediately. This arrangement is very important for peacekeeping under the charter system, and it helps to remedy the country’s initial free decision to resort to force. In disputes caused by the use of force, both parties to the conflict may prove the legitimacy of their actions based on the right of self-defense. In fact, the use of force by both parties to the conflict can never be legal. If one party exercises the right of self-defense appropriately, the other party will inevitably violate the obligation to prohibit the illegal use of force, so the latter cannot invoke the right of self-defense against the former.

The notion that self-defense measures become illegal without reporting will cause the Charter provisions to contradict the rules of customary international law. Moreover, the report itself cannot legally prove the legitimacy of self-defense claims. Timely reporting is neither a guarantee for the Security Council’s acceptance of self-defense claims, nor a prerequisite for the Council’s deliberations. The practice of the Security Council withdrawing the self-defense actions of the countries concerned simply because there is no report on the record, therefore, there is no practice of condemning them. In the case of flagrant aggression, self-defense measures must not be transformed into an act of aggression simply because there is no report. Therefore, although timely reports can show that a country is convinced that it is acting in accordance with the right to self-defense, failure to comply cannot in itself detract from the effectiveness of legitimate self-defense actions.

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