Reflections of a Broken Man

On Just War: Part II – Alternatives (b) by StephenMac
September 15, 2009, 11:14 am
Filed under: Reflections

**Currently listening to Rust (The Short Story of Mary Agnosia) – anchor&braille on purevolume… still haven’t forked out for the album yet… can only get it from the US 😦 **

2. Alternatives within Just War theory

During the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries, approaches to Just War Theory changed. Previous to the Enlightenment, just war theory had been within the domain of Christian thought. With Jesus Christ as the common moral imperator between “Christian” nations, just war theory had a common moral vocabulary and a common moral framework, and most importantly, a common moral authority within which to work. However, abuses of the system, namely the Crusades, and the holy wars of the Reformation period led to disenfranchisement with this “Christian” conception of just war theory. Just war became an excuse for war, rather than a restriction of it. Thus, Jesus’ role as the common moral authority was disputed, and legalism, a sub-tradition emerging from canon law, became the common authority underpinning just war theory.

In short, just war theory became a legal theory, rather than a moral theory.

This is a trend that has persisted through to today. The three main tenets of just war theory, jus ad bellum (justice in going to war), jus in bello (justice in fighting a war), and jus post bellum (justice in post-war settlement) now find themselves codified in international laws. Jus ad bellum has been codified into the UN Charter, with Chapter 7 making the provisions for legitimate use of war. Jus in bello finds itself in Geneva Conventions (particularly Conventions IV and VI). And just post bellum is represented in the International Criminal Court.


**This post is based partially on an article written for the Sydney Globalist.


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[…] political philosophy reminded me that I had neglected this series. You can find them here, here, here, here, […]

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