Just War: New Customary International Law to Combat Violent Non-state Actor Groups?

Lisa Marie Holz, University of Texas at El Paso


The issue that this study focused upon was the legitimacy of military interventions by a state against a violent non-state actor group located within another state’s territory. The research sought to answer how interventions by the United States and its allies have evolved during the post 9/11 era. It additionally explored if the justification for military interventions had changed. This study used data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program and the United Nations Security Council to create a hybrid data-set and analyzed the data for the location and number of states participating in operations against violent non-state actors (“VNSAs”). This study also investigated consent and authorization issues. The results demonstrate that interventions without consent are not significantly widespread as to constitute a new international norm. The results also highlight that there more “train-and-assist” operations than the traditional “boots-on-the-ground” responses. The findings demonstrate that the international community of states is the final arbiter of morality, and that strategies grounded in deontological ethics are becoming more prevalent. Not only is this compatible with Just War, it consolidates the notion of a rules based international system. Finally, train-and-assist operations may prove far more financially sustainable than traditional interventions.

Subject Area

International Relations|Political science|International law

Recommended Citation

Holz, Lisa Marie, "Just War: New Customary International Law to Combat Violent Non-state Actor Groups?" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10822579.