Governmental legitimacy in international law traditionally stemmed from effective control over a territory and population. In recent international practice, however, it has become accepted that abusive, albeit effective, governments can lose international legitimacy in either whole or part of the state territory (e.g. Libya, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Haiti).

Although commonly referred to in international legal parlance, governmental abusiveness has never been defined as a legal concept. Moreover, the concept is often conflated with the notion of non-democratic government.

The research analyses the underlying norms and developing practice of states and UN organs to determine the normative underpinnings and international legal consequences of governmental abusiveness. In so doing, the research attempts to outline the international legal avenues of addressing governmental abusiveness, and especially explores possibilities that do not include military intervention.

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