What is Just War? A war that is fought for the right reasons, in the right way.Most religiousbelievers accept thatwar is sometimes‘necessary’. Peace is the ‘ideal’.
It is considered wrong to start a war ifyou do not stand a chance ofwinning, because war involves thedestruction of life and property. Bothsides must have a reasonable chanceof success. Likelihood of success:
Proportionality:The force must beproportional to the cause. Thiswas included in the factors toensure that one side does notuse war as a pretext for metingout totally unreasonable forceon another country. Thisclause is important in this timeperiod particularly becausenow that weapons of mass On the other hand,destruction like nuclear or technological advancesbiological warfare exist in now make it possible tosome countries. The harm they target destruction veryare capable of causing ismassive and must be precisely – the ‘surgicalmeasured against the gain. strike’.
None of the Philosophersinvolved in the Just War theory A just war must be foughtrelished the idea of war – all with the intention ofbelieved peace was preferable. restoring peace.This clause requires countries tomake every attempt to resolve adispute before considering aarmed response. All other non-violent methods must have been tried first. A last resort:
Controlled Violence: However, all countries participating in the just war, must haveThis factor was designed the right to defendto protect innocent themselves.civilians. It requires thewar to be waged againstsoldiers and military In addition to civilians,targets. buildings also have to be considered, it would be wrong to bomb a waterworks or a power station for example.
Fought by the Authorities: It is generally accepted that only the United Nations or the head/government of the country is permitted to declare war.
Origins of Just war:Discussions on this theory go backto philosophers such as Aristotleand Cicero, who wrote that war inself defence was ‘just’. Firstsignificant development of its Both stipulated that warprinciples came from Ambrose and must only be waged by ahis student Augustine of Hippo. legitimate governmental authority, it must be intended to restore peace and justice; it should be a last resort. There are limits on the conduct of war: reprisal killings and massacres were forbidden.
Just war theory canbe divided into 3parts: Jus in Bello Jus ad Bellum Jus post bellum
Jus ad BellumJus ad Bellum is the just nature of thereasoning and decision to take part in war.These are the rules for the state leaders andthere are six requirements, which have beenalready listed in this presentation:- Just cause- Right intention- Proper authority- Last resort- Proportionality- Probability of success
Jus in BelloJus in Bello is the just nature of conduct during the war once it begins.It is the military that effectively bear the brunt of theseresponsibilities.- Obey all international laws on weapons prohibition(Chemical andbiological weapons must not be used).- Discrimination and non-combatant immunity(the military mustdistinguish between civilian life and legitimate military, political andindustrial targets).- Proportionality(Once the end is achieved, no further force is needed)- Benevolence to prisoners (All prisoners are to be given basic rights asthey are no longer ‘engaged in harm’).- No means that are mala in se (No methods or weapons that are ‘evilin themselves’ may be used, crimes such as rape, torture, ethniccleansing, genocide and poison fall into this category).- No reprisals (this includes revenge and retribution).
Plato & Jus in BelloGreat philosopher Plato introduced the idea ofnot touching those who were not to blame forthe conflict, i.e. non-combatants.Today, responsibility for keeping the Jus in Bellorules is mainly that of the military commanders,officers and soldiers. They are accountable forany breaches and may end up being put on trailfor war crimes.
Jus post BelloJus post Bello is the nature of how a war is ended. This is a relativelynew aspect to the just war tradition and is continually being debated.The purpose is to restore peace and arrive at the most effective way ofdoing this in a controlled manner. Debated principles are:- Restoring human rights.- Distinguishing between innocent civilians, who are to be free frompost-war punishment, and those who have incurred penalties.- Public agreement and proclamation- Giving war criminals fair trials: this applies both to leaders and anyordinary soldiers- Establishing financial compensation where necessary but so thatcivilians are not taxed and that country can restore itself.- Giving the country and its inhabitants the opportunity to reform.
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