Just and Unjust War<sup>1</sup>

Thomas M. Franck

in Fairness in International Law and Institutions

Published in print January 1998 | ISBN: 9780198267850
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683398 | DOI:
Just and Unjust War1

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Justice discourse has long played an important moral and strategic role in the waging of war. Whether the cause is a just one is determined by the jus ad bellum, the ‘law of war’. Whether the mode of fighting a war is just is determined by the jus in bello, the ‘law in war’. The international system has tried to limit the grounds for initiating hostilities and also the means by which hostilities are initiated and conducted. Both of these efforts to impose limits on the use of force derive at least in part from a concept of fairness. Both deploy normative constraints: first to define limits, and secondly to institutionalise a pull to compliance. This chapter examines the effect of these normative constraints on the belligerence of states. First, historic notions of a just war vs. unjust war are considered, followed by a discussion of the UN Charter's shift from collective self-defence to collective security, and norms and practice under the Geneva Conventions.

Keywords: UN Charter; Geneva Conventions; just war; unjust war; justice; fairness; compliance; law of war; law in war; collective security

Chapter.  19459 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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