Chapter 10: War, Peacekeeping, and Transitional Justice


Thomas Hurka, “Proportionality and Necessity”

Understanding

  1. Hurka says the apparently consequentialist proportionality and necessity criteria are interpreted deontologically. What are his reasons for this claim?
  2. What does Hurka mean by a “baseline situation”?
  3. Why does Hurka distinguish between relevant and irrelevant benefits of war, and how do these figure in his discussion?
  4. What are goods which are “causally downstream from a war’s just cause,” and how do they fit into Hurka’s discussion?
  5. How does Hurka distinguish between hardline and softline views of the moral standings of soldiers?
  6. Hurka writes that deontological moralities “allow killing an innocent person not to save just two other innocents, as consequentialism would, but only to save a hundred or a thousand, and in so doing they weigh harms much more heavily than benefits.” Explain how each moral theory reaches its different conclusion.

Evaluative

  1. Do you agree with Hurka’s deontological interpretation of the consequence conditions of just war theory? Why or why not?
  2. Why does Hurka distinguish between independent and conditional just causes for going to war? Do you think that this distinction is important for understanding justifications for going to war? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that jus in bello war crime penalties should hold just as strong for justified defending soldiers as they do for unjustified aggressing soldiers? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think that either deontological moral judgment or consequentialist moral judgment is always preferable when assessing justifications for acts of war? Are there times when one type of moral judgment is preferable to another? Explain your answer.

Brian Orend, “Justice after War”

Understanding

  1. What does Orend mean by the terms “Aggressor,” “Victim,” and “Vindicator”?
  2. Why does Orend reject the idea that “the just goal of a just war is the proverbial status quo ante bellum”?
  3. Why does Orend subject the principle of punishment to a proportionality constraint?
  4. In what ways does Orend treat the prosecution of jus ad bellum and jus in bello war crimes differently?
  5. For the purpose of prosecuting war crimes, why does Orend distinguish among the political leaders, soldiers, and civilians of the aggressor state?

Evaluative

  1. Is political rehabilitation compatible with holding war crimes trials? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think that if Victim state, or Vindicator state, or both, are charged with the responsibility of rehabilitating Aggressor state, there may be a conflict of interest undermining the administration of justice? If yes, how should the process of rehabilitation be administered? If no, explain why Victim state or Vindicator state or both are uniquely situated to ensure that rehabilitation will be justly administered.
  3. At the end of war, Aggressor state may lack the resources necessary to pay restitution for harms done to Victim state. Do you think that Vindicator states, or even uninvolved, economically well-off states have a duty to remedy Victim state’s losses? Why or why not?
  4. Orend thinks that in order to reduce the probability of future aggression from Aggressor state, it may be acceptable for a war court to reduce the restitution owed by Aggressor state to Victim state, and to reduce the punishment of guilty political leaders of Aggressor state. Do you think that this is justifiable? Why or why not?
  5. Orend thinks that holding political leaders accountable for jus ad bellum war crimes may act as a deterrent against other “ambitious heads of state.” Do you think that holding Vindicator political leaders accountable for jus in bello war crimes might deter future possible Vindicator states from participating in just wars? If yes, can you think of anything that might counteract this deterrence? If no, explain why you think incentives would work differently for each actor.

Roméo A. Dallaire, “Speech at Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs”

Understanding

  1. In his “Speech at Carnegie Council,” Dallaire asks the question “are all humans human, or are some more human than others?” What is the point of this question?
  2. In his “Speech at Carnegie Council,” what does Dallaire mean by the distinction between “war” and “conflict resolution”?
  3. In “The Lessons of Rwanda,” what does Dallaire mean by “that eighty percent of humanity”? What does he think the relationship should be between the eighty percent and the other twenty percent?
  4. In “The Lessons of Rwanda,” what does Dallaire think the role of middle powers should be in conflict resolution? How does this compare to the role of larger powers?
  5. Dallaire writes in “The Lessons of Rwanda,” “The warrior ethic must be complemented by a more intellectually based competency founded on the humanities where knowledge of the arena is far deeper than overt peace and security measures.” Why does he say this?

Evaluative

  1. In his “Speech at Carnegie Council,” Dallaire dismisses the realpolitik justification for noninterventionist policies. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
  2. In his “Speech at Carnegie Council,” Dallaire states that “People are not different; the circumstances are different.” According to Dallaire, this is enough to morally require Western intervention in far off lands to secure human rights. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  3. In “The Lessons of Rwanda,” Dallaire asks the question “Do we want to accomplish these missions to the best of our ability or … are we to be constantly looking over our shoulders to determine the reaction at home with regards to possible losses and holding back our troops in order to meet a primary aim of self-security?” Do you think Dallaire is prioritizing the importance of conflict resolution in foreign states over domestic concerns? If yes, do you think he is justified in doing so? Why or why not? If no, explain why you think Dallaire’s expectations are consistent with domestic concerns.
  4. Do you think that Dallaire’s proposals for military campaigns which go beyond the purpose of domestic defense might threaten the rights of citizens in Western states? Why or why not?
  5. It is widely acknowledged that stronger moral obligations are owed to people who are more immediately close to us, especially family members and dependents. By similar reasoning, we might also have greater moral obligation to members of our society than we do to members of other societies. Do you think that this is true? If yes, does this weaken Dallaire’s conclusions? Why or why not? If no, explain why you think this is not true, and why Dallaire’s position is not weakened by this line of reasoning.

Louise Arbour, “Crimes against Women under International Law”

Understanding

  1. Arbour discusses the ICC’s decision to prosecute rape as a war crime. What are the reasons she gives for this decision?
  2. Why does Arbour believe that the victor’s justice instituted in war tribunals is morally justified?
  3. How is the doctrine of command responsibility relevant to Arbour’s discussion of the prosecution of sexual offences?
  4. Why does Arbour speak approvingly of the ICC’s respect for due process, even when it appears to work in favour of the defendants of sexual violence cases?
  5. What does Arbour mean by the term “universal jurisdiction”?
  6. At the time Arbour spoke, the US had refrained from participation in the ICC. What negative consequences does Arbour think this will have for US influence on the world stage?

Evaluative

  1. On the question of redressing historical crimes, Arbour says that “If there’s only so much energy going to be applied, it should be applied to the future.” Do you agree with her? Why or why not?
  2. Do you agree with the ICC’s decision to treat the prosecution of sexual violence in a specialized manner? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that the ICC is better equipped to deal with war crimes than courts comprised of the states, institutions, and persons directly involved in and affected by the crimes in question? Why or why not?
  4. Arbour approvingly quotes an anonymous person, “Nothing happens without people, but nothing lasts without institutions.” But both good and bad practices may be institutionalized. In light of this, is Arbour too optimistic about the potential longevity of the ICC? Why or why not?

Comparative

  1. Do you think Hurka would agree with Orend’s views about war crimes trials? Why or why not?
  2. Is Arbour’s account of the role of the ICC compatible with Orend’s views about war crimes trails? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that Dallaire’s account of Western omissions in Rwanda call for the criminal accountability of Western states, either by Orend’s theoretical view of war crime trails, or by Arbour’s account of the ICC? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think that Arbour’s account of the ICC describes a process adequate for redressing the events in Rwanda described by Dallaire? Why or why not?
  5. Do you think that Dallaire’s proposal for Western states to play a more active role in preventing human rights violations throughout the world is compatible with Hurka’s view of just war theory? Why or why not?
  6. Orend writes that “In order to avoid charges of applying a double standard and exacting revenge, the justified side must—despite the justice of its cause in fighting—also be willing to submit members of its military for the commission of jus in bello war crimes to an impartially constructed international tribunal.” Arbour writes that “these tribunals are victor’s justice, they can’t be otherwise. It makes a difference who the victors are. They can’t be otherwise, because only advanced liberal democracies could have created these kinds of institutions.” Do you think that Orend and Arbour contradict one another? Why or why not?