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the unidentified aggressor as well as the likewise unidentified defender.18 However, such measures, especially those involving the use of armed force, can hardly be taken without a so-called provisional measure, a previous call to the belligerents to cease hostilities. In case only one state is ready to comply with this call, the application of military measures to this state would not only be considered as unjust, it would also be completely superfluous, and the state which refused to comply with the call to cease hostilities should be considered to be the aggressor. It is in just such a case that a definition of aggression which includes not only the use of armed force but also the non-compliance with a provisional measure is appropriate. Only if both belligerents refuse to comply with a call to cease hostilities is the application of military measures against both of them justified. However, in this case the actions of both fall within this definition of aggression.
Within an organization constituted by a treaty providing for economic and military sanctions to be directed against both states involved in a war, no right of self-defense is recognized, even though the coercive machinery of the organization, the main purpose of which is to stop the war, cannot go into effect immediately after the outbreak of war. This is highly objectionable, for if a state which is a victim of aggression does not offer resistance by the use of its armed force, in compliance with the prohibition not to resort to war, it will probably suffer irreparable damage. If in the case of a war between two states the question is not decided which of them is the aggressor, an obligation to repair the damage caused by the war can be imposed only upon both or upon none of the belligerents. In either case gross injustice is inflicted upon the state which is not the aggressor.
An effective system of international security must provide for sanctions not only in case of an actual breach of the peace by an act of aggression but also in case of a threat to the peace. If there is not an actual war between two states but only a danger of war because two states have started to mobilize or have concentrated troops on their frontiers, the central organ of the security organization must be able to apply preventive measures. It must therefore be able to call upon both states to stop their mobilization, or to withdraw their troops from their frontiers, and to submit their conflict to pacific procedures to be conducted by this organ or another organ of the security organization or an organ to be established for this purpose by the states in conflict. If one of the two states refuses to comply with the call, or if one of them refuses to comply with the decision of the organ competent to bring about a pacific settlement of the conflict, then repressive measures—that is, sanctions would be directed
against this state. It stands to reason that it would be foolish to direct repressive measures against the state which complies with the call of the organ of the security organization or the decision of the organ to which the conflict has been submitted. Such measures would not have the character of sanctions. They could reasonably be applied only to the state which refuses to comply with the call to stop mobilization, or to withdraw its troops from the frontier, or to submit the conflict to a pacific procedure, or to comply with the decision of the organ competent to bring about a pacific settlement of the conflict. However, this state would be an aggressor according to the definition of aggression referred to above. As far as repressive measures are concerned, and repressive measures are indispensable to an effective security system, such measures can reasonably be applied only as reactions against aggression. However, by aggression not only the use of armed force but also other illegal conduct, especially noncompliance with preventive measures taken by the (direct or indirect) agencies of a security organization, may be understood. Consequently, the problem of aggression must be included in a consideration of the organization of international security.14
(gg) Is the concept of aggression not susceptible to definition?
As to the doctrine that aggression is a concept which is not susceptible to definition,15 it should be remembered that "definition” is a term which may designate different things. “Definition" may mean a statement determining the meaning of a term. Defining a concept consists of determining the qualities belonging to this concept. Insofar as a “concept” is the result of a definition, a concept which cannot be defined is a contradiction in terms. One of the purposes of a definition is to enable us to distinguish one object from another similar object. However, a definition may have to employ a term designating an object which exists in different degrees such as size, temperature, density, and the like. Then it is inevitable that there are concrete cases in which it is not certain whether the definition applies to concrete objects of which it is doubted whether they fall under the definition, as, for instance, whether or not a man is a giant, this concept being defined as a man of extraordinary size. To maintain that such a definition is not a definition, is as much a fallacy as to maintain that there is no difference when there is only a difference in degree and not in kind, or, what amounts to the same thing, only a relative but not an absolute difference (the so-called black or white fallacy). This is the fallacy implied in the statement that aggression cannot be defined, if this statement is based on the fact that there is no absolute difference
but only a relative one between a conduct which may and a conduct which may not be regarded as aggression and that there are intermediate states between these two kinds of conduct. However, aggression is not this kind of a concept, and it can be defined in a way that never makes it doubtful whether a concrete conduct, provided it is known, does or does not constitute aggression.15 If aggression could not be defined, it would be impossible in a concrete case to apply the general norm attaching a sanction to an act of aggression. Hence, it would be impossible to determine an aggressor. The law-applying organ, whether it be the government of an individual state or an international agency such as a council or a court, can apply this norm to a concrete case and thus determine the aggressor only if it is able to ascertain that a concrete conduct of a state constitutes aggression, which means that this conduct must exhibit all the essential qualities of the concept concerned. This presupposes that the law-applying organ has a definition of aggression in mind. If this organ does not find the definition included within the general norm to be applied, it must construct this definition itself. Furthermore, if the general norm does not contain a definition of aggression, it must authorize the lawapplying organ to define that conduct which the general norm prohibits by attaching to it a specific sanction, just as a penal law prohibiting murder by attaching capital punishment to this conduct must define it or leave the definition to the court competent to apply the law in a concrete case of murder. If this were not done, the court would be unable to ascertain the fact that a definite individual had committed murder and to inflict the prescribed punishment on the murderer.
(hh) The two methods of defining aggression.
In regard to defining aggression, the only legitimate question is whether the definition of aggression should be inserted into the general norm attaching a specific sanction to aggression or whether this definition should be left to the organ competent to apply this norm in a concrete case of aggression and thus competent to determine the aggressor. It is essential to a system of international security that it contain such a general norm. The question of defining aggression is not a question of the possibility and advisability of defining it, as the question is usually presented, but rather of determining at what stage of the legal process the definition should be established. The question is whether within a system of international security the organ competent to ascertain that a concrete act of aggression has occurred and thus to determine an aggressor should be bound by a pre-established definition of aggression or whether it should be
authorized to construct this definition itself. The question of defining aggression is implied in the general problem of the rule-of-law principle within a system of international security. As has been noted, this is the principle which, as far as possible binds the law-applying organs to pre-established general norms, and leaves these organs as little discretion as possible in exercising their functions in order to render their decisions calculable and thus reduce the uncertainty with respect to these decisions and increase the so-called legal security as far as possible. It is evident that if the definition of aggression is left to the organs competent to apply the treaty constituting an international security system, the definition adopted in one case may differ from that adopted in another. Consequently, the states which are members of an international security organization cannot foresee what conduct will be regarded by the competent organ as aggression and thus as illegal. As has been pointed out, this situation certainly does not correspond to the ideal of international security. Of course, this does not mean that an attempt to maintain the rule-of-law principle within a system of international security does not encounter certain difficulties or that the realization of this principle does not have certain disadvantages. In addition, it is understandable that there should be some doubt as to which of the two methods is preferable: to bind the law-applying organs to the definition of aggression pre-established in the constituent treaty, or to leave this definition to the law-applying organs. The choice between these two methods is a difficult one, and it is quite possible and understandable that the government of a state would favor one method under certain political circumstances and another under other circumstances. In the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, in explaining his country's past and present position with regard to the question of defining aggression, the representative of the United States declared:
“A number of delegations had said the United States had in 1945 argued the view which was now that of the Soviet. Union. That was quite true, and the United States did not in any way pretend that it was not. In 1945, the United States had been in favour of a definition of aggression because at that time there had been every reason to believe that the term 'international co-operation would have a real connotation. Unfortunately, the state of international relations had become such as to convince the United States that a definition of aggression had become not only undesirable but even dangerous. The United States delegation had not obeyed a whim; it had adopted a position which was diametrically opposed to the stand it had taken in 1945 and
had done so in view of international developments.” 16
There are good reasons for preferring one or the other method. However, in order to make a reasonable choice, it is necessary to formulate the two methods correctly. Hence, it is not the choice between defining and not defining aggression that must be made, because aggression must be defined anyway; nor is the choice to be made the choice between a method of defining aggression and a method of determining an aggressor, as it is sometimes formulated, for an aggressor can be determined only on the basis of a definition of aggression, whether the definition is pre-established or left to the organ competent to determine an aggressor.18 No matter how important it may be, the difference between these two methods is only relative and not absolute. Even if the constituent treaty contains a very detailed definition of the prohibited aggression, the law-applying organ is not completely bound in determining an aggressor, for no definition can determine its object, and no general norm can bind the law-applying organ completely. Every definition contains elements, i. e., employs terms, which themselves require definition. It is therefore not justifiable to object to a definition of aggression if it employs such terms. For example, if in a penal law, murder is defined as bringing about the death of another human being intentionally, each term of this definition is open to interpretation. This means that each term has to be defined by the court in each concrete case. Every application of a general norm in a concrete case requires interpretation and so do the definitions of the terms used in the general norm. Consequently, a certain degree of discretion is always left to the law-applying organ.
On the other hand, if the constituent treaty prohibits aggression without defining this concept, the discretion of the law-applying organ in defining the concept is not unlimited. If a word like "aggression" has any meaning at all, there is always a minimum of general understanding, and it is only to achieve a maximum of understanding that a determination of the meaning by definition is required. The meaning of a word is a sphere with a relatively solid center, like the stone of a fruit, and a more or less liquid, i. e., vague, periphery. Hence, even if "aggression” is prohibited without being defined in advance, not every conduct of a state can be regarded by the law-applying organ as aggression. The difference between the two methods consists only of the fact that much less discretion is left to the law-applying organ in the case where aggression is defined in advance than in the case where aggression must be defined together with the determination of the aggressor. The difference is sometimes assumed incorrectly to be that the former method is “automatic,” 19 while the latter is not, which means that if aggression is defined in advance, the determination of the aggressor is, so to speak, self-acting because it does not depend