What Will Jus Post Bellum Mean? Of New Wine and Old Bottles
Posted: 1 Dec 2009
Date Written: 2009
The idea of a framework of jus post bellum has recently gained momentum as a new category of law to be applied in the post-conflict phase, in order to reconstruct a stable and peaceful society after conflict. This framework of jus post bellum rules seems to be just what the world needs as the rules of jus ad bellum, which regulate the beginning of a war, and the rules of jus in bello, which regulate the conduct of the actual war, are not comprehensive enough to be of constructive help in the post-conflict phase. What is the content of such a jus post bellum framework? Will this framework be useful? Will it consist of international law, national law, or both? Does the necessary international law perhaps exist already and it only remains to reassemble pertinent parts of it and re-label them as jus post bellum? Or does a framework of jus post bellum presuppose the invention of a genuinely new body of law to cater to the particular needs of the post-conflict situation? This article examines all of the above questions, and the possible consequences that a framework of jus post bellum rules may have. These consequences may go so far as to open up the possibility of retroactively conditioning the legality of interventions on respect for the rules of jus post bellum. The authors believe that it is time for a shift in thinking about peacebuilding, especially since a well-regulated post-conflict phase is essential for the well-being of a state's people, something international law is designated to protect.
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