Necessity knows no law, it is said; and indeed to invoke necessity is to step outside the law.
[International law] rejects the idea that necessity knows no law.
In the context of the British intervention in Egypt in 1956 in connection with the Suez Crisis, the then legal advisor to the British Foreign Office and member of the ILC, later Judge at the ICJ, Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice described the doctrine of so-called necessity as a "rather back-handed doctrine, since it is founded on the maxim that necessity knows no law, but one to which international law does, nevertheless, within pretty stringent limits, afford recognition." (50) States have, in their responses to the ILC, exhibited some ambivalence toward the concept of a state of necessity.
Today, after the work of the ILC and the endorsement of the ICJ, it is fair to echo Schachter's observation that international law rejects the idea that necessity knows no law. Decades of study have found that necessity exists in international law and that the best safeguard against abuse of the concept is its codification in the Draft Articles on State Responsibility with appropriate, strictly defined, and cumulative circumscriptions.
Also see the editorial comment in the American Journal of International Law: "It therefore appears that the Chancellor knew and admitted that the occupation of Belgium and Luxemburg was contrary to international law, but he justified the act by the statement that the German Empire was 'in a state of necessity' and that 'necessity knows no law.'" Editorial Comment, 8 AM.