S Just War Theory Compatible with Humanitarian Intervention?

Topics: Laws of war, Peace, Just War Pages: 3 (955 words) Published: March 5, 2011
Is just war theory compatible with humanitarian intervention?

Just War theory is generally divided into three parts: Jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum. For the purposes of this essay I will be focusing mainly on jus ad bellum whilst referring also to jus in bello. Jus ad bellum has six requirements, namely just cause, right intention, proper authority and public declaration, last resort, probability of success and proportionality. To assess whether Just War Theory (JWT) is compatible with humanitarian intervention, I will focus mainly on the first criteria, ‘ just cause.’ That is that war must be a response to a specific instance of direct un-just aggression. I will be arguing that, according to philosophers as far back as Augustine, aggression need not be directed against one’s own to trigger (the just ad bellum argument). Aggression is the use of armed force in violation of someone else's basic rights. That “someone else” might be: a) another person (violent crime); b) another state (international or “external” aggression); or c) many other people within one's own community (domestic or “internal” aggression). There's no logical requirement that aggression can only be committed across borders. Therefore, I will conclude that humanitarian intervention counts as a just cause for war and is compatible with just war theory.

Humanitarian intervention is defined as the threat or use of force across state borders by a state (or group of states) aimed at preventing or ending widespread and grave violations of the fundamental human rights of individuals other than

its own citizens, without the permission of the state within whose territory
force is applied.

The original and traditional JWT restricts ‘just cause’ to ‘self-defence’. That is to say that if a state is invaded, or subject to some other form of aggression, it has a just cause for war as a matter of self-defence. “An aggressor can only forfeit...
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