Issues in Implementing Non-Use of Force Principle in International Law

Author Name(s): Durmishkhan G. Afkhazava, Lenaris H. Mingazov, Sofio N. Karcivadze
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The security of the world community at the present stage of development of international law is directly related to its general principles. These principles form the core of international security law and serve as a guiding light for international rulemaking.

The very essence of international law and the belief in its efficiency depend on the implementation of these principles.

In this paper, an attempt will be made to analyze the situation in the South Caucasus from the point of view of implementing the principle of non-use of force.

The efficiency of norms and principles of international law has many criteria and factors; the paper will be an attempt to highlight key issues and their comparison with the situation in reality.

This conflict is firstly studied and examined from the point of view of international law; in our opinion, only a detailed study of such conflicts and an assessment of the degree of international principles implementation serve as a basis for determining the efficiency of international law.

The studies carried out and reflected in this paper give us grounds to conclude that the conflict took place, and the non-use of force principle was directly implemented. We consider it important to note the positive trend which is manifested in the growth of the efficiency degree for the norms of international law.


In the second millennium, after the experience of wars and conflicts obtained by mankind, it would seem unnecessary to remind that the use of armed force by one state against another state is prohibited and is an international crime, so mens an aggression if it is not self-defense measures in response to an armed attack or participation in sanctions by the decision of the UN Security Council. [1]

Meanwhile, modern international relations certainly show that, despite the recognition of an aggressive war as an international crime, the most developed and leading states often resort to the use of armed force for the sake of their own interests. A great public response was sparked by events in Yugoslavia and Iraq. [2]

The problem of implementing the norms of international law in terms of assessing efficiency is expedient to study from the position of activity andlawful behavior of states. Lawful behavior is the closest indicator of the international law efficiency. Hence, the study of causal links between the behavior of subjects of law and international lawseems to be one of the important directions in the study of the efficiency of international law. [3] Among the many links of the causal relationship between the norms and principles of international law and the behavior of its subjects, the following are of great importance: an international legal position, value systems, positive responsibility, needs and interests as liaisons between norms of law and behavior, international legal awareness, and reciprocity.

The level of efficiency of international legal norms depends critically on the level of their implementation. States do not accidentally associate efficiency with the faithful fulfillment of obligations, with the achievement of legal and social results provided for by the rule of international law. For achievement of the efficiency of international law, it is important not only to implement its norms, but also to ensure optimal level of their implementation. The criterion for assessing this level is indicators reflecting the social and legal result of the norms of law enforcement, namely:

  • Compliance of the international law subjects behavior with the requirements of the norms of law (lawful behavior);
  • Completeness and accuracy of the implementation of the rights and obligations contained in the norms of law;
  • Degree of achievement of immediate social goals with regard to the norms of law and their implementation in accordance with their goals and object.

Social efficiency of the norms of international law is an achievement of the impact of a legal norm on subjects of international law that are as close as possible to what is planned for the purposes of a socially useful regulatory norm.Being a form of social relations, law does not in itself generate any particular benefits, or practical results. Legal norms are only an expression of the possibility and obligation in relation to the actual behavior of the subjects. Therefore, the real content of their regulatory properties can only be manifested through the process of their implementation. In other words, efficiency is a characteristic of operation of the norms of law. This does not mean, however, that a social effect is not caused by the norms of law, but only by the actions of the actors in implementing them. In fact, the possibility of achieving a social result is laid in every norms of law. Moreover, norms of law play anorganizing role in achievement of a social effect, since they oblige,and prescribe the most acceptable variant of behavior.

The efficiency of a norm depends on its internal perfection, social value, optimality, and other its qualities which largely predetermine the success and efficiency of a legal impact, the ability of the norm to influence regulated relations. The existence of such ability is beyond doubts since law as a super structure phenomenon cannot but affect the basis. The problem of the norms of international law efficiency turns out to be connected not only with the identification of the social results of their action, but also with the study of their qualitative properties, and those social conditions that caused this norm, and its social task.

In the paper, for the first time in science, an attempt will be made to analyze the implementation of the “non-use of force” principle in international law on the basis of an armed conflict between Georgia andAdzharia (Batumi phenomenon). [4]

Was there arealization of the principle here?For this, we need to analyze and provide answers to several questions. Was there a conflict? Was there an armed conflict? Was there an international or internal armed conflict?Answers to the questions posed together will enable us to draw certain conclusions about the operation of the principle.


Side effects of operation of law do not have a connection with the objectives of legal norms. Therefore, their evaluation should be made not from the point of view of efficiency, but from the point of view of the combined utility of the result obtained [12]. Thus, when we evaluate a result of operation of an international law norm, then certainly and above all, we mean a positive (useful) result. It is with such a result that it is necessary to link the achievement of socially significant goals of activity and, ultimately, its efficiency. Now let us turn to the culmination of the research: proceeding from what realities,it can be talked about the principle of non-use of force in this case?

Based on historical and factual material, it is possible to judge the full implementation of this principle by the example of the clash between Adzharia and Georgia, i.e. the possibility of using force was obvious and clear, there was a clear confrontation of forces, and it is also worth remembering the existence of deplorable experience (Abkhazia and Ossetia) in Georgia’s history. Thus, it is safe to say that the actions of the parties to the conflict, namely, the actions of the president of Adjara Aslan Abashidze, were an implementation form for the non-use of force principle.


The work is carried out according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.


[1] United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945, 1 UNTS XVI, available at: [accessed 13 July 2017] [2] Hmoud, Mahmoud (2003) “Use of Force against Iraq: Occupation and Security Council Resolution 1483, The, “Cornell International Law Journal: Vol. 36: Iss. 3, Article 2 Available at: edu/cilj/vol36/iss3/2

[3] International Law: A Textbook for Bachelors / Executive editors: R.M. Valeev, G. I. Kurdyukov. – Moscow: Statute, 2017. -P. 319

[4] Eurasia Net, Ajaria declares state of emergency, Georgian leadership urges regional inhabitants to disobey curfew, 26 April 2004, available at: [accessed 13 July 2017] [5] UN General Assembly, Definition of Aggression, 14 December 1974, A/RES/3314, available at: [accessed 13 July 2017] [6] UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 14 December 1960, A/RES/1514(XV), available at: [accessed 13 July 2017] [7] Amnesty International, Use of Force: Guidelines for Implementation of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, 7 September 2015, available at: [accessed 13 July 2017] [8] The Adjarian lion snarled [Digital source] // URL:https://lenta. ru/papers/2003/11/25/adzaria/(accessed date: July 13, 2017).

[9] International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (First Geneva Convention), 12 August 1949, 75 UNTS 31, available at: [accessed 13 July 2017] [10] Prosecutor v. DuskoTadic aka “Dule” (Decision on the Defense Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction), IT-94-1, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), 2 October 1995, available at:,ICTY,47fdfb520.html [accessed 13 July 2017] [11] International Crisis Group (ICG), Kosovo: No Good Alternatives to the Ahtisaari Plan, 14 May 2007, Europe Report N°182, available at: [accessed 14 July 2017] [12] Efficiency of legal norms / Glazyrin V.V., Kudryavtsev V.N., Nikitinsky V.I., Samoshchenko I.S. – Moscow: Juridical Literature, 1980. – P. 48



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