12 - Justice after war and the international common good  pp. 219-235

Justice after war and the international common good

By John Langan

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While it is true according to Dr Johnson that nothing concentrates the mind so much as the prospect of being hanged, the prospect of being shot by a sniper or hit by a mortar or blown apart by a bomb will probably do just as well in bringing certain issues to the fore with an urgency and vigour which they do not customarily have. For this reason, the parts of just war theory which fall under the headings of jus ad bellum (the right to enter into hostilities) and jus in bello (the right to be observed in the conduct of hostilities) have drawn more concentrated and more sustained attention than the moral issues which cluster around the end of hostilities and the return of peace, a cluster which there is now an increasing tendency to speak of as jus post bellum (the right to be established after hostilities). At this point, politicians, diplomats and lawyers return to the centre of the stage; a complex process of negotiations brings us closer to the resumption of politics as usual. The territory is less well charted, and its features are less arresting and less ominous than the precipitous and craggy landscape of war.

This chapter is not primarily concerned with the events which terminate hostilities, but with the altered network of relationships between combatants and among nations which arises at the end of hostilities and with different ways of conceiving this network.


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