Table 2: The Just War Tradition as a Source of Criteria for Ethical Judgment
Taken from Morality and Contemporary Warfare
James Turner Johnson
Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 2001
Late classical era: deep roots, early expressions
The Bible (Old and New Testament)
Roman law and practice
Christian theology: writers such as Clement of Alexandria,
Medieval era: coalescence of a cultural consensus
Canon law: Gratian’s Decretum, writings of the Decretists and
The code and customs of chivalry
Customary rights and practices of sovereigns
The inherited idea of Jus Gentium (Law of peoples and nations)
16th to 18th centuries transformation, differentiation
Transformation to natural law base: Victoria, Suarez,
Theory of international law: Grotius, Pufendorf, Vattel, others
Military codes of discipline replacing chivalric code
Limited war theory and practice: “Sovereigns’ wars”
19th century: further definition within distinct streams
Customary international law
First Hague Conference
Origin of Geneva Conventions
Military manuals on he law of war
Popular, philosophical, and religious efforts to restrain or end war
20th century: elaboration and growing interaction
Positive international law:
Jus ad bellum: League of Nations covenant, Pact of Paris,
Jus in bello: Arms limitation treaties and conventions, growth of
Humanitarian international law
Military manuals on law of war, rules of engagement
Religious and philosophical recovery of just war concepts
Public debate over war, its meaning and effects
The jus ad bellum: Criteria defining the right to resort to force
Just Cause: The protection and preservation of value.
Classic statement: Defense of the innocent against armed attack
Retaking persons, property, or other values wrongly taken
Punishment of evil
Right Authority: The person or body authorizing the use of force must be the duly authorized representative of a sovereign political entity.
The authorization to use force implies the ability to control and cease that use: that is, a well-constituted and efficient chain of command.
Classic statement: Reservation of the right to employ force to persons or communities with no political superior.
Right Intention: The intent must be in accord with the just cause and not territorial aggrandizement, intimidation, or coercion.
Classic statement: Evils to be avoided in war, including hatred of the enemy, “implacable animosity,” “lust for vengeance.” Desire to dominate.
Proportionality of Ends: The overall good achieved by the use of force must be greater than the harm done. The levels and means of using force must be appropriate to the just ends sought.
Last Resort: Determination at the time of the decision to employ force that no other means will achieve the justified ends sought. Interacts with other jus ad bellum criteria to determine level, type, and duration of force employed.
Reasonable Hope of Success: Prudential calculation of the likelihood that the means used will bring the justified ends sought. Interacts with other jus ad bellum criteria to determine level, type, and duration of force employed.
The Aim of Peace: Establishment of international stability, security, and peaceful interaction. May include nation building, disarmament, and other measures to promote peace.
The jus in bello: Criteria defining the employment of force Proportionality of Means: Means causing gratuitous or otherwise unnecessary harm are to be avoided. Prohibition of torture, means mala in se.
Classic statement: Attempts to limit weapons, days of fighting, persons who should fight.
Noncombatant Protection/Immunity: Definition of non-combatancy, avoidance of direct, intentional harm to noncombatancy, avoidance of direct, intentional harm to noncombatants, efforts to protect them.
Classic statement: Lists of classes of persons (clergy, merchants, peasants on the land, other people in activities not related to the prosecution of war) to be spared the harm of war.