Wednesday, January 2, 2013

[INTER 2103] jus trans bella

Just War Theory is usually divided into three parts:
  1. jus ad bellum: the justice of resorting to war in the first place.
  2. jus in bello: the justice of conduct within war.
  3. jus post bellum: the justice of peace agreements and the termination phase of war.
To these, Zeev Maoz adds a fourth category, namely, jus trans bella, which is the justice of conduct of "states that resort to violence at a disproportionate rate compared to what would be expected by chance." Maoz mentions the following states as examples of what he calls "fighthaloics":
States that are addicted to violence can be divided roughly into three groups: First, "old and permanent" fightaholics: These are states whose international history is saturated by violence throughout. Major powers like Britain, France, the United States, or Russia, or minor powers like Turkey and Greece are cases in point.
The second group consists of "old but recovered" fightaholics. This group consists of states, such as Germany, Japan, or Italy, who had a fair share of their history that displayed addictive behavior, but at some point these states were "cured."
The third group consists of "young" fightaholics: States with a relatively short history, but one that is saturated by violence. Here we have states like Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, India, or Pakistan. If we divide the number of conflicts in which a state has participated by the number of years it was independent, Israel goes to the top of the fightaholics list with an average of one war every eight years.
Maoz argues that "fightaholic" states warrant a higher level of moral scrutiny from the international community than other states do. His argument is an analogical one:
Consider a residential neighborhood that is considered to have high rates of violent crimes. There are many families in this neighborhood, but only a few of them are engaged in violence, typically against other residents who are also prone to violence. The violent crime marking of this neighborhood is due to only a small minority of its residents.
Do you agree?

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