Leiden Journal of International Law


Humanitarian Intervention After Kosovo and Legal Discourse: Self-Deception or Self-Consciousness?

Nicholas Tsagourias  1

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tsagourias n   [Google Scholar] 


NATO's operation in Kosovo provoked diverse legal propositions. The operation was hailed as a humanitarian action stemming from a sense of human solidarity for the victims of the atrocities. On the other hand, it was vilified as a flagrant violation of fundamental principles of international law such as that of state sovereignty and non-intervention. Consequently, legal discourse is moulded by these antithetical ideological forces which epitomise the legal culture of medievalism and modernity. It thus resorts to reformulations and recombinations in order to achieve justifiable results. However, it remains external, lacking a sense of self-consciousness, because it distances the theorizing person from the object of her observation. Therefore, we propose here a discursive model which entails observation, reflection, assessment, and projection where the manifold aspects involved in a situation such as Kosovo are accounted for and new and better solutions are envisioned.

Key Words: humanitarian intervention; modernity; medievalism; discursive theory.


1 LL.M, Ph.D, Lecturer in Law, University of Derby, UK.