This paper argues that Operation Allied Force—the United States led, NATO military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War aimed at ensuring full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1199—violated both United States and international law. Part I of this paper provides a brief history of Kosovo in order to place the conflict in the proper context. It continues with a blow-by-blow account of the events and decisions leading up to the initiation of Operation Allied Force and ends with a detailed description of the operation, which was the second major combat operation in NATO’s history, following the September 1995 Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Part II explores how the war powers are allocated between the Executive and Legislative branches of the United States federal government under the Constitution. In addition, the President and Congress’s authority over the United States Armed Forces under the War Powers Resolution is explained.
Part III argues not only that President Clinton lacked the constitutional authority to commit United States Armed Forces to NATO’s Operation Allied Force, but also that continuing the operation until June 10, 1999 violated the War Powers Resolution.
Part IV explores whether Operation Allied Force was illegal under international law. Through an examination of key events, originating with Operation Allied Force and leading up to Kosovo’s 2008 unilateral declaration of independence and the July 22, 2010 International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) Advisory Opinion, the authors analyze whether Operation Allied Force violated the U.N. Charter’s prohibition against the use of force and conclude that the Operation cannot be legally justified under the doctrine of humanitarian intervention.Struble and Alton