Image credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

Overview

In a paper by the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC) titled “Quantum of Silence: Inaction and Jus ad Bellum” (2019), Dustin A. Lewis, Naz K. Modirzadeh, and Gabriella Blum examine the actual and potential roles of silence in the identification and the development of international law, with a focus on the legal regime governing the threat or use of force in international relations.

The analysis in the paper is complemented with an annex — to which a team of HLS PILAC research assistants contributed — that contains the most comprehensive catalogue to date of apparent self-defense reports to the Security Council under article 51 of the U.N. Charter. Those contributors were Lindsay Anne Bailey, Emma Broches, Laura Clark, Sonia Chakrabarty, Thejasa Jayachandran, Daniel Levine-Spound, Sarah Libowsky, Samantha Lint, Yang Liu, Carolina Silva-Portero, Shira Shamir, William Ossoff, Tamsin Parzen, and Shanelle Van.

The paper and catalogue arose out of the HLS PILAC research project titled “Self-defense, States’ Silence, and the Security Council.”

Paper and Annex

  • Dustin A. Lewis, Naz K. Modirzadeh, and Gabriella Blum, “Quantum of Silence: Inaction and Jus ad Bellum,” Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, 2019

  • Annex — HLS PILAC Catalogue of Communications to the Security Council of Measures Taken by United Nations Member States in Purported Exercise of the Right of Self-Defense: October 24, 1945 through December 31, 2018 (Dustin A. Lewis editor), Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, version 1.0, 2019. Contributors: Lindsay Anne Bailey, Emma Broches, Laura Clark, Sonia Chakrabarty, Thejasa Jayachandran, Daniel Levine-Spound, Sarah Libowsky, Samantha Lint, Yang Liu, Carolina Silva-Portero, Shira Shamir, William Ossoff, Tamsin Parzen, and Shanelle Van.

Both PDF and web versions of the paper and annex, as well as subsections thereof, are being provided below in case readers may want to focus on particular portions of the materials. The content in the following links is the same across formats.

PDF (printable versions) of the Paper and Annex

Web Versions of the Paper and Annex

Catalogue of Apparent “article 51 communications” only

For readers interested in focusing on the catalogue of apparent “article 51 communications,” we are making that catalogue available on its own (that is, without the paper and the annex’s introduction to that catalogue) in the following formats:

Keyword searchable version of the Catalogue

In the version below, the catalogue may be searched by column/field. A few examples:

  • To find all of the apparent “article 51 communications” submitted by the United States, input “United States” in the “Member State(s) That Submitted the Comm.” box below;

  • To search all of the communications submitted in 1956, input “1956” in the “Date of Comm.” box below; and

  • To find all of the communications alleging that non-state actors authored (or at least co-authored) a threat giving rise to a self-defense claim, input “non-state” in the “Nature of the Alleged Author(s) of the Threat (If Any Indicated)” box below.

Multiple search boxes may be utilized simultaneously to further refine results. Finally, please note that, to move through the columns, scroll to the right.