There are four kinds of contradiction in the principles and laws governing military activities. One, which has two aspects, is between promise and performance, between words and deeds. There is, in the first place, the contradiction between the obligation which states have assumed under international treaties not to resort to armed force, as against the way states actually behave. The UN Charter is a treaty to which most of the world’s sovereign states have adhered and the obligations of which over-ride obligations under other international agreements (Art. 103 of the Charter). One of the obligations under the Charter is not to use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other state (Art. 2(4)). Those are fine words, to be sure, echoing the Kellogg-Briand renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy; but when we examine the deeds of states since 1945, we find that there have been many armed conflicts in disregard of UN Charter obligations. According to the Nürnberg Charter and a resolution of the UN General Assembly, to wage war in violation of an international treaty is a crime against peace (see Appendices 1(a) and 13).
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