Justice and Resistance

Bordat, Josef
April 2006
International Journal of the Humanities;Apr2006, Vol. 3 Issue 8, p111
Academic Journal
In the debate about the question if, when and how humanitarian interventions can afford peace and justice military action is ambitionally taken into consideration due to failed or rogue states, which are supposed to back up terrorism or harming the unalienable human rights of their citizens. In spite of the non-intervention principle of the UN-Charta (2, 7), which also puts any military violance out of the question (2, 4), the so called ‘war on terror’ became a paradigm of the new world order in our times of globalisation. To discuss the meaning of ‘justice’ concerning military intervention in the world today conclusions can be drawn from a historical view on the bellum iustum-topic as treaten from the spanish scholastics Sepúlveda, Vitoria and Las Casas during the debate over the right to conquer what they called ‘West-India’. Especially the position of Bartolomé de Las Casas makes clear that it is both possible to regard the humanitarian intervention as ‘resistance’ against the harm of human rights and world peace and at the same to it may be an option to practice resistance against the violent way of restoring peace, depending on the used means. The historical analysis reveals the principles for the ‘bellum iustum interventionis’ both for the ius ad bellum and the ius in bello such as ultima ratio (last resort), legitima potestas (legitimate authority), intentio recta (right intention) and debitus modus (proportional means). To emphasize the relevance to the present-day problem, an argumentative bridge is reconstructed between the position of Las Casas and recent proposals. As the result it comes out clearly that in case of serious harm occurring to human beings military intervention is not only a right but a responsibility, both in historical and in contemporary perspective.


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