The first question concerns the legality–legitimacy spectrum.
Is legality through UN authorization indispensable? Is non-authorized
intervention by definition illegal or is it perhaps legal given an alternative reading
of the UNCharter? 37 Can intervention
be condoned if it appears legitimate even though it is technically illegal, as the
Independent International Commission on Kosovo concluded in its detailed
report? 38 Another tack is the
humanitarian purposes in certain exceptional cases, thereby bypassing the cardinal
norm of non-intervention (see table 4.1 ).
According to Wilhelm Grewe’s assessment, in the nineteenth century
‘the principle of humanitarian intervention increasingly absorbed all other
grounds of intervention (with the exception of contractual permission and
self-help)’. 12 This
tendency in law and practice is striking, for, prior to the UNCharter and the
international law of