Just War Theory Explained
Jus Ad Bellum
Justice to War
Jus in Bello
Justice in War
Jus post Bellum
Justice after War
- Proportionality and Publicity. The terms of the peace agreement must be public and fair. The victor should not seek to utter destroy the opposing country, but to secure a just peace. In general, this rules out insistence on unconditional surrender.
- Rights Vindication. The settlement should secure those basic rights whose violation triggered the justified war. The relevant rights include human rights to life and liberty and community entitlements to territory and sovereignty. This is the main substantive goal of any decent settlement, ensuring that the war will actually have an improving affect.
- Discrimination. When imposing terms on the defeated, one must treat the leaders, soliders, and citizens of the defeated nation individually and appropriately. It would not be just to punish the people of a nation for the actions of its leadership, and soliders should be treated in accordance with their freedom of action. This policy does not excuse soliders from potential punishment for war crimes.
- Just Punishment When the defeated country has been a blatant, rights-violating aggressor, proportionate punishment must be meted out. The leaders of the regime, in particular, should face fair and public international trials for war crimes. Soldiers also commit war crimes. Justice after war requires that such soldiers, from all sides to the conflict, likewise be held accountable to investigation and possible trial.
- Compensation. Financial restiution may be demanded, to pay for the costs of the war, but it would not serve justice to impoverish the defeated country.
- Rehabilitation. Following the war, the victor may impose reforms on the defeated government, proportional to its level of abuse and corruption. They may involve: demilitarization and disarmament; police and judicial re-training; human rights education; and even deep structural transformation towards a minimally just society governed by a legitimate regime.
Criticism of Just War Theory