Punitive Intervention: Enforcing Justice or Generating Conflict?

Anthony F. Lang

in Just War Theory

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748620746
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672042 | DOI:
Punitive Intervention: Enforcing Justice or Generating Conflict?

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Humanitarian intervention has recently become widely accepted as a form of justifiable war, supplementing “self-defence” as a potential just cause. In addition to justifications based on the prevention or curtailment of genocide, for example, many have argued that humanitarian interventions can be justifiably launched to punish the perpetrators of such gross wrongdoings. This chapter subjects “punitive intervention” to rigorous analysis. After discussion of numerous historical examples which might fall into this category, it proceeds to interrogate both just war theory and international law for possible justifications of intervention citing “punishment” at their core. Neither are found to provide plausible bases for such justifications, but the chapter concludes by showing how this result does not mean that those responsible for the crimes which do prompt justified intervention necessarily escape justice and punishment.

Keywords: Humanitarian intervention; Punitive intervention; Punishment; Genocide; International law; Justice

Chapter.  8380 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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